August 26, 2020 – 21st Week in Ordinary Time

“Living an authentic life so that the Lord may look at us and proclaim, ‘WOW!’”

(Based on 2 Thess 3:6-10, 16-18 and Mt 23:27-32 – Wednesday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time)

Wooowww!! Wooooaaah!!!

These are expressions which conveys feelings of surprise, wonder and great acclaim!

These feelings are articulated particularly when we come across a fascinating building or a great piece of architecture or a grand monument!

When we scan across through some of the fine buildings or monuments or structures around the globe, we find that many of these majestic edifices and constructions are actually tombs…
… or the burial places of many people.

A quick glance at some of those imposing constructions:
The Westminster Abbey in London…
… tomb for the monarchs and the famous people of England

The Terracotta Army…
… tombs, as sculptures, of the armies of the First Emperor of China

The Great Pyramids of Giza…
… tomb for the Pharaohs and the Kings of ancient Egypt

The Taj Mahal…
… tomb for Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Shahjahan in Agra, India.

All these great wonders of human making, though tombstones, evoke feelings of Wooowww!! Woaaah!!
…Isn’t it?

The Gospel of the Day too, presents before us tombstones…
… in the form of the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law!

But what is the feeling of Jesus that is evoked?
… Not of surprise or wonder…
… but anguish and sadness… WOE!!

“WOE TO YOU!”

HE says….. “You are like whitewashed tombs!!”

We are at the last part of the condemnation of the Pharisees in Chapter 23 of Matthew.

And today, Jesus comes down heavily on them by describing them as whitewashed tombs!

Whitewashed tombs are beautiful in appearance from the outside…
… but full of dead bones and uncleanness inside!

It was the custom of the Jews to whiten graves, especially if they were in unusual places, so that people might avoid them…
… because of the ceremonial pollution contracted by the touch of a grave.

Num. 19:16, “Anyone…who touches a grave shall be unclean for seven days”.

To avoid defilement by accidentally stepping on or touching a grave, the tombs in Palestine were painted with a lime paste or whitewash at the beginning of every year.

Whitewashing accomplished two purposes:
1) It identified tombs so they could be avoided
2) It beautified tombs so they could be admired.

Today, the Lord calls the Pharisees and the Teachers as these Whitewashed Tombs….

They were like tombs…
… dead, filthy.

But they were whitewashed…
… beautiful and lovely outside!

They did many things to win people’s admiration…
… but they failed to please the Lord of the Law!

They exercised many times the practice of fasting…
… but they missed out on being merciful and charitable!

They performed many actions of prayer…
… but they were unsuccessful in helping and serving other people!

Human life has all through the ages been fascinated and attracted with the beauty of externals…

Anyone, anything which APPEARS good and captivating has captured the minds and hearts
Eve was tempted by the Serpent…
… with the delicious and good looking fruit

She got trapped!

Lot asked the whole Jordan plain from Abraham…
… because it looked nice

He got trapped!

Israelites made the golden calf as their god…
… because it appeared more attractive

They got trapped!

Today we are invited to check and examine…
Am I making my life a whitewashed tombstone…
… beautiful outside, but filthy within?

My life is perhaps adorned with a good house, fat-chequed job etc…
… but is my house is in tatters with fights and conflicts?

My prayer life is beautified with constant prayers and praises…
… but within, do I experience unforgiveness and hatred?

My works are decorated with frequent appreciations and admirations…
… but do I give in to corruption and insincerity?

My community life is filled with laughter & good words…
… but do I fail to be accepted and loved by anyone in the community?

My friendships are many & decked with parties and fun…
… but deep within, do I miss out on having a true and genuine friend?

If any of the above is true…
… then I need to really be wary

Is my life being a whitewashed tomb?

The world loves to enjoy and appreciate the great monuments and architectures like The Westminster Abbey, The Terracotta Army, The Great Pyramids of Giza, The Taj Mahal etc…
No wonder they are beautiful and amazing.

But deep within, there are merely tombs…covering dead and decayed bodies!

Our lives may be a great structure…
… a wonderful edifice, in the eyes of the world…

But am I pure and holy…
… and seeking for authenticity and genuineness deep within my heart too?

Let us truly beautify our lives…
… but not just with an external show, but with an inner glow!

May the peace of the Lord be with us, who seek to live an authentic life: “…may the Lord of peace Himself give You peace at all times in all ways!” (2 Thess 3:16)

May the Lord look at our lives and not say, “WOE TO YOU”…
… rather let Him declare and proclaim, “WOW TO YOU!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “It is the part of a futile soul to busy itself…

.. with examining the lives of others!”

One thought on “August 26, 2020 – 21st Week in Ordinary Time

  1. Yes father..I really appreciate your deep rooted faith in Jesus as you personally experience God’s word touching your very core of life & reflections that you send are most inspiring thoughtsthat help my spiritual life to deepen my faith. Tq much& God bless your unseen work.

    Like

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