“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Matthew 23:27)
One of the most difficult things to do is to try to correct a person in authority. Jesus would have tried to be quiet but he said the truth just as it is. In His own words, Jesus told us: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28).
When it comes to correcting our religious leaders, there is a tendency for us to quote passages such as “Touch not my anointed ones, and do my prophet no harm.” (1 Chronicles 16:22 & Psalm 105:15). In truth, the greatest harm we can do to God’s anointed ones and prophets is our failure to tell them the truth.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus likened the Scribes and Pharisees to whitewashed tombs which were beautiful to look at from the outside but were full of dead men’s bones inside. If people get close to me, would they see something different from what I portray in public?
Jesus also condemned the fact that the Scribes and Pharisees had a practice of adorning the tombs of the prophets, meanwhile, they hated Jesus with a passion. The question is: How do I react when someone tells me the truth?
In today’s first reading, St. Paul writing to the Thessalonians stated: “For you remember our labour and toil, brethren; we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you, while we preached to you the gospel of God…” (1 Thessalonians 2:9) Have I become a burden to my flock financially? Do I only think of what I would get from them?
St. Paul continues: “You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our behaviour to you believers.” (1 Thessalonians 2:10). Can I as a religious leader say this to my flock? Am I truly a role model when it comes to righteousness and holiness?
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give us the grace to practice what we preach. Amen.
Bible Study: 1Thes. 2:9-13, Ps.139 & Mat. 23:27-32).