Monday, August 26, 2019

“God judges men from the inside out; men judge men from the outside in.”

“A man is more or less of a Christian only in proportion to the speed with which he advances towards infinite perfection, irrespective of the stage he may have reached at a given moment. Hence the stationary righteousness of the Pharisee is worth less than the progress of the repentant thief on the cross.” ― Leo Tolstoy, The First Step: An Essay on the Morals of Diet, to Which Are Added Two Stories

Gospel Text: (MT 23:13-22)
Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
You do not enter yourselves,
nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You traverse sea and land to make one convert,
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna
twice as much as yourselves.

"Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
'If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.'
Blind fools, which is greater, the gold,
or the temple that made the gold sacred?
And you say, 'If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.'
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift,
or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
one who swears by the temple swears by it
and by him who dwells in it;
one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God
and by him who is seated on it."

If we call ourselves Christian we learn from Jesus the importance of being authentic, of choosing honesty and not deception, and most especially to avoid self-deception.  It requires constant vigilance to seek the truth and make that evident by how we live.  When I claim to love God and my neighbor and remain prejudiced and selfish, when I say I am pro-life and ignore the myriad of ways people are killed, when I cannot detach myself from material goods or power, I am pretending to be a Christian.  

An authentic follower of Jesus is one who “walks the talk”.

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