REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 23, 2021: Monday

“Seeking to grow in authenticity, genuineness and faithfulness!”

(Based on 1 Thess 1:2-5, 8-10 and Mt 23:13-22 – Monday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Year)

The role of the actor or an actress in a movie or a drama or an enactment is highly essential and crucial.

Sometimes, when seeing their performance, an actor or actress is incredibly believable in their role.

The actor or actress seems so authentic, genuine and real…
… that it’s hard to know that it’s all “make believe” and “just acting”

The Gospel of the Day has persons on the stage who have achieved a sort of perfection and expertise in the field of acting and making people believe by their subtle behaviours…

Lights… Camera… Action…!

Welcome to the Stage…
And presenting before you… the “Leading Lights” (or are they “Corrupt Deceivers”??)

The Pharisees and Teachers of the Law… models of “Acting” and “Deception” and “Fraud”…

And the Great Critic – Jesus – has a special name for them: “Hypocrites”!

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 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!

This sin of Hypocrisy, was one of the sins…
… to which He had the most hatred
… to which He reserved His best condemning words
… to which He lashed out and which gained His greatest abuses

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 deadly!

We need to ask ourselves: 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!

When I say I love God above all…
… but don’t find even few moments to be with Him in prayer!

When I say I love others…
… but constantly hurt them with my words and fail to appreciate them and even fail to pray for them!

When I receive the Eucharist…
… but fail to even try to give my life in service for others!

When I recite many prayers…
… but do not seek to listen or do God’s Will in my life!

When I am a Priest/ Religious…
… but have failed to even try to give God the first place in my life!

When I am a Church member…
… but have failed to even try to learn and follow the commands and regulations of the Church!

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

Sin is hated…
… not the sinner!
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 of the Gospel may leave us with a feeling: “All these demands 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” 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, fulfil 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 seek to grow in Authenticity, Genuineness and Faithfulness!

We also seek the intercession of St Rose of Lima, whose feast we celebrate today.

She is the patroness of gardeners, florists and all the people who are ridiculed/misunderstood for their piety!

May her words inspire us: “Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN AND IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER”

This final stage stays closely linked to the first, that is, to His descent from heaven in the Incarnation.
Only the One who “came from the Father” can return to the Father: Christ Jesus.
Left to its own natural powers, humanity does not have access to the “Father’s house”, to God’s life and happiness.
Only Christ can open to man such access that we, His members, might have confidence that we too shall go where He, our Head and our Source, has preceded us.
The lifting up of Jesus on the cross signifies and announces his lifting up by His Ascension into heaven, and indeed begins it.
Jesus Christ, the one priest of the new and eternal Covenant, “entered, not into a sanctuary made by human hands, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.”
There Christ permanently exercises His Priesthood, for He “always lives to make intercession” for “those who draw near to God through Him”.

As “High Priest of the good things to come,” He is the Centre and the Principal Actor of the Liturgy that honours the Father in Heaven (Cf. CCC # 661-662)

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