March 10, 2020 – 2nd Week of Lent

“Living our Christian life in Faithfulness, Integrity and Honesty!”

(Based on Is 1:10, 16-20 and Mt 23:1-12)

There is an interesting story that appears in the 12th Chapter of the 2nd Book of Kings.

Joash was the King of Judah.

He observed that Temple of the Lord was in need of repair.

So he raised a fund-raising program…

“Jehoiada, the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid and put it beside the altar, on the right side as one comes into the house of the LORD” (2 Kings 12:10)

The amount thus realised, was given to the master workmen of the Temple.

These master workmen in turn…
… gave it to the carpenters and builders
… to the lumbermen and stone cutters
… and for the purchase of wood and hewn stone used for repairing

There is a fascinating verse that then appears…
… It says, “They did not require an accounting from the men, into whose hand they gave the money to pay to those who did the work, for they dealt FAITHFULLY.” (2 Kgs 12: 16)

Other Bible translations read…
… they worked with INTEGRITY
… they acted with complete HONESTY

Faithfulness, integrity and honesty are qualities that are expected of everyone…
… who engage themselves in the works of the Lord

And naturally so, for all of us as Christians – the followers of Jesus, the Faithful, the Integral and the Honest One!

Do I live my Christian life in Faithfulness, Integrity and Honesty?

The Gospel of the Day presents a Challenging Jesus..
… who seeks to expose the duplicity in the life of the Teachers of the Law
… and exhorts, instead, to lead An Authentic way of Life!

Chapter 23 of the Gospel of Matthew is an extremely emotion filled and volatile passage.

The Great Master Jesus, is in a confronting mode and minces no words in exposing the duplicity of the Teachers of the Law.

Chapter 23 almost speaks of Jesus reaching a sort of boiling point…

Let’s think of a pan of water on the stove…

You turn the burner on high and slowly the water becomes warmer and warmer …

And then, there are a few bubbles in that water and those few bubbles come to the fore…

And pretty soon the water in the pan is furious with bubbles because the water has come to its boiling point…!

The words of Jesus in Chapter 23 come to a boiling point!

(23: 1-12): Denunciation of the attitude of the Scribes and Pharisees
(23: 13-36): Pronouncement of 7 woes on the Scribes and Pharisees
(23: 37-39): Lamentation over the city of Jerusalem

Today’s Gospel Passage deals with some of the crucial areas of the Teachers of the Law…
… which very often have a similarity in our lives too

1: They preach, but do not practice! (Mt 23:3)

How often are we in the habit of telling virtues to others…
… but fail to practise them ourselves?

How often do we love to advise goodness to others…
… but fall short of trying to be good ourselves?

How often do we want the whole world to be changed…
… but reach nowhere in trying to improve our own selves?

2: They lay burdens on others..but lift not a finger to help (Mt 23: 4)

How often do we expect others to achieve perfection…
… but fail to do our own activities with zeal and passion?

How often do we want others to fulfil their duties well…
… but miserably unaware of our own obligations and tasks?

How often do we impose others to be good and holy..
… but indulge our selves in deeds of corruption and sin?

3: They Practice deeds of Religiosity to be seen by others (Mt 23: 5)

How often do we parade our acts of charity before others…
… in order to boost our index of popularity?

How often do we want our deeds of assistance be noticed by others…
… in order to win admiration and acclaim?

How often do we go vocal in boasting of our own achievements…
… in order to become great and famous?

4: They love places and titles of honour and respect (Mt 23: 6-7)

How often do we seek the best places in society and the Church…
… and try to make a peripheral show of our status?

How often do we grow attached to places and titles of glory…
…  and develop an unconscious love for vain glory?

How often do we get disturbed and even troubled easily…
… when others fail to acknowledge our positions and repute?

The list of questions is too long…. the record of queries is too extensive…

But we need to make this check.. a reality check of our own lives!

It is not very difficult to live under the garb of a well-polished and neat looking title of a “Christian”.

It is not very hard to move forward with our Christian lives being peripherally good and “appearing” pious.

But we need to realise?

In our life here, some day or the other, our hollowness will get exposed if were are not true to our inner selves.

A false life does not befit a person who seeks to follow the Authentic Christ.

Yes, on Judgment Day, none of our ‘external packing and wrapping’ will come to our rescue!

To live an authentic and true life is certainly hard…
… and is a treading through paths of difficulties.

But…
… in difficulties, grace abounds
… in hardships, blessings increase
… in adversities, mercy flourishes

May we seek knowledge in order to serve, by growing in the virtues of faithfulness, integrity and honesty…
… and thus be true followers of Jesus, the Faithful, the Integral and the Honest One!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections!”

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