Jesus said, “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. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”( Matthew 23:27-32)
Jesus used strong language to warn the religious leaders and teachers about the vanity of outward appearance and pretense while wearing a mask that hides the true intentions and thoughts of the heart.
Through His words, we are reminded that Jesus equates true beauty and goodness with a clean heart and mind that is set on God and his way of love and goodness. He warns that what truly corrupts a person is the impurity of wrong and sinful attitudes that come from within a person’s mind and heart – these are what produce sinful habits and ways of speaking, acting, judging, and treating others.
In our world today, there are far too many who are not different than the scribes and Pharisees. They are presentable outside but they neglect the more important aspect of life which is interior cleansing, renewal and transformation. Going through a periodic self-audit to check on whether our inner self matches the exterior self is critical for each of us.
We have no less a helper than God himself who knows our hearts so well. He knows our dreams, our hopes, our fears, and our desires. He knows what delights us, what saddens us, what worries us.
With God, we don’t have to pretend. When we come to prayer, we can be confident, because we are approaching a God who not only created us but is intimately aware of our every thought or feeling.
Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, we may keep up our guard, wary of letting anyone get too close to us, even the Lord.
But God is our biggest fan. He won’t ever betray us, and he won’t be scandalized by our faults. So, open your heart to God! Don’t hold anything back! Tell him what’s on your mind. Share with him your struggles with bad habits or sins, and ask for his forgiveness and grace.
Remember Jesus didn’t come to condemn us but to save us, to shower us with mercy and love. God, our Creator, accepts us just the way we are, even as he longs to see us transformed. He delights in you. He knows you as he intended you to be for all eternity. And with that image in mind, he will always treat you with the utmost of love and respect.
Prayer of The Day
“Father, what a great God you are! You have searched me and know me, and still you love me. Without hesitation or fear, I open myself to you.”
As Christians, we are called to love and serve God, and to spread the good news of the gospel. That starts with our own behavior, and our own responsibility to be good spiritual role models to all those around us, especially the youth in our lives. In our own lives, we have a choice, we can be good spiritual role models and lead others to Christ, or we can be like the scribes and pharisees and lead people away. The choice is ours.