St. Paul was all about making sure he pleased God. He did not want to be beholden to anyone but God. And he makes that clear in today’s first reading from 1 Thessalonians. “…that is how we speak, not as trying to please men, but rather God.” Why was this? To make sure that he had credibility when preaching the Gospel of God. Because if he preached working for the Lord, but did not lead by example, he would be a hypocrite. Which leads us to our next point.
In the Gospel reading today from Matthew 23, we hear Jesus excoriating the scribes and Pharisees some more. Each time He addresses them, he refers to them as hypocrites. So, what is a hypocrite? Someone who says one thing but does another comes to mind. But it also goes much deeper than just words and actions. As Jesus relates to the scribes and Pharisees, hypocrisy is really a matter of the heart. And I believe that makes me, and perhaps you, to a certain degree, a hypocrite.
A hypocrite is someone who says or does one thing and THINKS another. Example: A co-worker gets a promotion and a raise. When you see her, you’re all smiles and handshakes and hearty congratulations. But in your heart, you’re hoping she’ll crash and burn and the bosses will see how wonderful you are and how they missed the boat not picking you in the first place. I know, absurd, right? Nothing like that would ever cross your mind! Yeah, me neither…
Father, you know that we are charter members of Club Hypocrite. Rid us of our hypocrisy, that the inside may match the outside. Amen.