Psalm 96:1-2, 2-3, 4-5
Today is a day during the cycle the Church calls the "ordinary time," but there is nothing ordinary about the message from the Gospel reading. Jesus doesn't hide His feelings today - "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites." Jesus tells these folks in no uncertain terms that they are in trouble because of their hypocrisy.
I think it is easy for us to feel smug about hypocrisy. We know it when we see it in other people, and we feel frustrated, angry, sanctimonious about their inability to be true and their inconsistency with professed beliefs. What irritates me more than anything else is when people go out of their way to talk about what they are and then act in ways that clearly are inconsistent with what they just said was important to them.
But I find myself often blinded to my own hypocrisy unless I take a step back and reflect on what I really am doing and saying, and what my core beliefs are as a Christian man in this time and place. When I take the time to do this, I find that I am, at times, as hypocritical as the person I just judged. Am I woeful? Is Jesus telling me I am in trouble?
Well, yes, He is. But I think the message is that I am in trouble only if I don't act to minimize my hypocrisy, if I don't get my life actions back in line with my professed beliefs. I can change, I can be more reflective on my actions, I can bring my doing into line with my believing. I won't ever be 100% (to me one sense of sin is when my actions get out of line with my beliefs), but if I can reduce the times when I am hypocritical, I will be living a life more consistent with who I am called to be.
And so my prayer today is to be more aware of what I believe when
I am acting and doing in my daily life, and to ask God's grace to clarify
those beliefs so I can be more consistent in following my call.
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