Woe to You, hypocrites!
Readings: 1st: 2 Thes 2:1-3. 14-17; Ps: 95; Gos: Mt 23:23-26
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today is the Tuesday of the twenty first week of ordinary time. In today’s gospel, Christ showed his displeasure against the way of life of the Scribes, Pharisees and Jewish authorities.
One could wonder, why is Christ so displeased to the point of cursing the authorities. The answer is simple, and is found in Christ’s words:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like white washed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.”
One point is clear here, the insincerity and the double standard life of the authorities. They present a false image of themselves. This is Christ’s definition of hypocrites and white washed tomb.
Christ’s action today demonstrates, and reminds us of how to speak truth to power and authority. Much as he is loving, patient and kind, Christ desires that we do what is just, and live sincerely.
He was not afraid to confront injustice and falsehood. Rather, he condemned their actions and challenged them to see how their way of life was impacting others negatively.
There are some lessons for us in today’s gospel. First, rather than remain silent while injustice and falsehood thrive, we must speak out. This is an integral part of our prophetic ministry.
Second, we must not live a false or double life. This is because, it affects others negatively. So, we must live a very transparent life. Our actions must match our words, and reflect who we truly are, and who we represent.
Peace be with you.