Denunciation of hypocrisy
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 21st Week in Ordinary Time 1st Reading: 1Thes 2: 9-13 Gospel: Mt 23:27-32
Jesus said, “Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs beautiful in appearance, but inside there are only dead bones and uncleanness. In the same way you appear as religious to others, but you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness within.
“Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous. You say: Had we lived in the time of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in the blood of prophets. So, you yourselves confess to be kins of those who murdered the prophets. And now, finish off what your ancestors began!”
D@iGITAL-EXPERIENCE (Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
The Law of Moses provides that anyone who touches a cadaver becomes unclean (Numbers 19: 16). This provision of law led to the practice of whitewashing all tombs to make them more visible to passersby because even accidental touching of tombs barred one from entering the Temple. Jesus’ couldn’t have been more precise in saying that like whitewashed tombs the Pharisees looked clean from outside but had nothing but vileness inside.
The Pharisees were very particular with their image. They probably thought that external devotion to rituals would delete from the minds of people the shameful historical truth that they were descendants of the murders. Jesus correctly argued that by being loud about their ancestry while at the same time building monuments for murdered prophets they were in effect admitting that they were sons of murderers. The word “hypocrisy” fits them to a tee.
The issue about hypocrisy brings in this funny yet thought-provoking story. A group of masked men enters a church brandishing automatic firearms. One of them announces their intention to kill all Christians. Everyone scampers for the exit door. Removing their masks, one of them tells the priest: “Go ahead with the service now, Father, for we have already driven out all the hypocrites.”
While parishes will never hire goons to expose hypocrisy, no hypocrite can hide from God. We might all be guilty. Until we forget about revenge, the phrase, “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” will always be a loud proclamation of our hypocrisy. A composer tried to resolve this anomaly by removing from his prayer version the phrase “as we forgive those who sin against us”. Changing what the lips sing instead of changing what the heart craves is no different from painting white the tomb that hides dead bones and rotten flesh. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM.
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