Woe to You, Hypocrites! (2)
Readings: 1st: 2 Thes 3:6-10. 16-18; Ps: 128; Gos: Mt 23:27-32
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 Wednesday of the twenty first week of ordinary time. Today’s gospel, is a continuation, and the conclusion of yesterday’s, in which Christ showed great displeasure against the lifestyle of the Jewish authorities.
The woes that Christ pronounced against the authorities of his time, continue to strengthen yesterday’s theme:
“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.”
Christ continues to criticize the lack of coherence between their words and their actions, between their interior and their exterior life.
Therefore, the image of “whitewashed sepulcher” speaks for itself. Jesus condemns those who vest themselves with a fictitious physical appearance, but are totally different interiorly.
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 to our society and world.
Second, Christ reminds us that, it is not enough to observe the letters of the Law. Rather, we must make a sincere effort to allow the law transform us interiorly.
Hence, Paul admonishes us: “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2).
A life that pleases God is that which is lived in the Spirit, with an adequate and correspondent physical manifestation. We must not live a false or double life. This is because, it affects others negatively, and destroys us.
So, our actions must match our words, and reflect who we truly are, and who we represent.
Peace be with you.