A common story is told of two brothers who were well known around town for their crooked business dealings and underworld connections.
>> They were highly mean and cold-blooded in their dealings.
Eventually, one of the brothers died.
>> The surviving brother wanted to give his dead brother a funeral fit for a king.
He called the funeral home and made all the arrangements.
>> Then he called a famous minister of the town, and promised him a huge amount of money…
… On the condition that in his Funeral Speech, the minister would call his brother as a saint!
The minister agreed.
The whole town turned out for the funeral…
… and the minister began: “The man you see in the coffin was a vile and debauched individual.
>> He was a liar, a thief, a deceiver, a manipulator, a reprobate, and a hedonist.
>> He destroyed the fortunes, careers, and lives of countless people in this city, some of whom are here today.
>> This man did every dirty, rotten thing you can think of.
But… I must tell you one important thing as well…
>> Compared to his brother, he was a saint!”
The world today has many people who seek to only “put on a show from the outside”…
… To gain name and fame
… To earn a good repute in the society
>> But “within” are full of corruption and deceit!
Do I also carry this tendency of only putting on an “external show”…
… But fail to possess true and inner virtues?
The Gospel of the Day mentions people who had achieved a sort of perfection and expertise in the field of acting…
… and making people believe by their subtle behaviours
>> The Pharisees and Teachers of the Law… models of “Acting” and “Deception” and “Fraud”…
Jesus during His ministry on the earth worked always with one kind of a sinner or another.
And it’s amazing to see the way He treated them all..
Sinners were considered with respect and dignity….Prostitutes were given respect and worth…
Tax collectors were accorded value and importance…Lepers were offered acceptance and favour…
He often forgave people’s sins as He healed their broken and diseased bodies.
Jesus loved the sinners….he loved them so much that He wanted them to be always released from the clutches and slavery to Satan!…
But JESUS HATES SIN!!!…..
He hates sin with a great passion and rebuked it whenever He could!
One of the Sins to which He had the most hatred…
… was the Sin of Hypocrisy!
One of the Sins to which He reserved His best condemning words…
… was the Sin of Hypocrisy!
One of the Sins to which He lashed out and which gained His greatest abuses…
… was the Sin of Hypocrisy!
The English word, “hypocrite,” comes from the Greek word, “hypocresis” which is the Greek word for “actor.”
A good “hypocresis” is a good actor.
>> A good actor is good at playing a part, playing a role and a playing a character…
Jesus today vehemently and quite heatedly labels the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law as ‘Hypocrites’!
The sin of Hypocrisy is a deadly one….. Have I become a prey to this deadly and poisonous Sin?
>> I am hypocritical…when I profess to be a Christian…but don’t even seek to live the Gospel values in my life!
>> I am hypocritical… when I say I love God above all..but don’t find even few moments to be with Him in prayer!
>> I am hypocritical… when I say I love others…but constantly hurt with my words and fail to appreciate them!
>> I am hypocritical… when I receive the Eucharist…but fail to even try to give my life in service for others!
>> I am hypocritical… when I recite many prayers…but do not seek to listen or do God’s Will in my life!
>> I am hypocritical… when I, as a Priest/ Religious…have failed to even try to give God the first place in my life!
>> I am hypocritical… if as a Church member.. have failed to even try to follow her commands and regulations!
The habit of hypocrisy is a lethal one…Have I become a victim to this noxious and fatal Habit?
When we read this passage of the Gospel.. we must also keep in mind one basic principle…
>> Jesus is not making a blanket condemnation of the whole group of people…rather He criticizes and condemns the attitude and their mentality
• The Sin is hated….not the sinner! The Sin is to be thrown away…but the sinner is given a chance to repent! The Pharisee is not hated….but Pharisaism is condemned!
• The Lord is a tough task-master… He loves not to dilute His teachings and His policies.
Such condemning passages and harsh extracts may leave us with a feeling..
“All this demand of the Lord seems all too difficult for me… Who at all can live in perfection?
Is there any person who can claim not be living in duplicity?
I fail to find a good example in today’s world…and therefore, I think, this is neither practical nor feasible!”
But the Lord rushes to our rescue & tells …..”What’s impossible for humans is possible for God….What is needed is a genuine attempt at perfection…a true longing to be free from duplicity…a solid motivation to live a harmonious life”
We may be “acting” very well in the stage of life…maybe knowingly…maybe unknowingly…
But today, the Lord wants us to examine our lives…and set things right…
With deep love, He encourages and motivates us through St Paul and his companions, “…we constantly pray for you; may our God make you worthy of His calling. May He, by his power, fulfill your good purposes and your work prompted by faith!” (2 Thess 1:11-12)
Let us do away with the Habit of Hypocrisy…
.. and genuinely grow in Authenticity and Faithfulness!
Today we shall seek the intercession of St Monica, the saintly mother of St Augustine…
… whose prayer and intercession would lead to the conversion of the great Saint Augustine.
May we do away with the tendency of only putting on an “external show”…
… and instead seek to possess true and inner virtues!
God Bless! Live Jesus!