Hypocrisy Revealed

Aug 27, 2014 | [post_view] Views

hypocrisy revealed

Memorial of Saint Monica

August 27, 2014



First Reading: 2 THES 3:6-10, 16-18

Responsorial Psalm: PS 128:1-2, 4-5

Gospel: MT 23:27-32


As we continue our reflection about the polemic of Jesus against the scribes and Pharisees, we see that Jesus is really serious about their hypocrisy. He described them as whitewashed tombs that appear beautiful and pleasant on the outside but full of dead men’s bones inside.  They may seem righteous in the sight of the people but they are actually filled with evil doing. This is their hypocrisy revealed.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.”

Social or public appearance is what is more important to the scribes and Pharisees. They do everything to appear good and righteous.  Their practice of religion is just a show. For them, everything is a matter of good presentation. Their evildoing is shown on how they regard and treat others. They make themselves better than everyone else that they label others as defiant to the law of Moses. They cloak their filth inside in their mask of good appearance by making others appear bad and sinful. This is pharisaic hypocrisy revealed.

Jesus is not just against all these, He condemns this kind of behavior. He is warning us against this hypocrisy.  Examining ourselves with all honesty, we may see that there is in us a pharisaic tendency.  We make ourselves appear pious and faithful, white washing ourselves to cover our sinful private lives. Like the Pharisees, we are filled with dead men’s bones. We may appear to be alive but we are actually dead inside. Our relationship with others especially the poor and the marginalized is dead. Our relationship with God who loves the poor and the sinful is lifeless even if we appear to be prayerful. Moreover, our relationship with our brothers and sisters in church is also jeopardized we easily find faults in them and persecute them. It is sad to admit that there are persecutors, like the Pharisees, inside the church.

What Jesus wants from us as His disciples is to be like St. Monica who was true to her relationship with God. She was devastated at the sinfulness of her son Augustine,  but she never stopped on trusting God to forgive and convert Augustine.  The many tears she shed were tears of truthfulness and self-surrender to God. She admits her son’s defiance to God. She did not cover it but widely opens it to God that God may turn this sinfulness into a blessing.  Like St. Monica, may our lives manifest the reality of our being Christians. Let our piety, our faith, our trust in God be manifested in our good relationship with others not as a show off but as a living witness of God’s goodness. This is our hypocrisy revealed and converted by God’s truthfulness.


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