St. Paul was big on prayer and thanksgiving. We see this today in our first reading from 2 Thessalonians 1. “We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters, as is fitting…” and “We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling…” Prayer and thanksgiving. Two things that perhaps you and I could more of? I think so.
Today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 23 is an interesting one. Today we see a fiery side of Jesus. Jesus was never afraid to “call a spade a spade.” Even in a very public way. We see this as He addresses the crowds, calling out the scribes and Pharisees. “You hypocrites!” “Blind guides!” “Blind fools!” Now, I know that name calling is not a very nice thing to do. But sometimes the truth must be proclaimed in no uncertain terms. I am often chided for calling out Catholic politicians who support abortion and positions that defy Church teaching. So be it. I believe that dancing and pussyfooting around the truth is uncharitable. Today’s Gospel shows us what Jesus would do when confronted with those who practice hypocrisy.
Now, that being said, I must admit that I am certainly not immune from hypocrisy. In fact, I can be the biggest hypocrite of all. While preaching love and patience and all good virtues, I engage in behaviors that are far from my words. Pray for me, that I might put the well-earned title of Hypocrite behind me.
Father, forgive us for the times when we, too, practice hypocrisy. Help us to have our actions match up with our words, and that both may glorify you. Amen.