August 25, 2015

The Gospel Today

Tuesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 23: 23-26

Jesus said:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin,
and have neglected the weightier things of the law:
judgment and mercy and fidelity.
But these you should have done, without neglecting the others.
Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You cleanse the outside of cup and dish,
but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup,
so that the outside also may be clean.”

Reflection (Sem. Gerald M. Moscardon)

8.25

We often see in the Scriptures how Jesus denounces the actions of the Scribes and the Pharisees because of their hypocrisy. They were knowledgeable and experts of the laws. They often outwardly practiced them to show to people that they abided by these laws and it is this act of false and self-righteous piety that Jesus condemns. He likened it to a cup that is clean on the outside but filthy and mucky in the inside.

It is easy to point fingers at people and draw attention to their faults and weaknesses. What we don’t realize is that the more we find faults in other people, the more that we get blinded from seeing our own filthy faults. Falling into the sin of self-righteousness and entitlement has oftentimes beleaguered people with power, knowledge and authority and the people serving the Church is no exception. It is not unheard of that we encounter lay leaders having conflicts with their members or vice versa. And oftentimes we hear lines like, “Ang problema kasi sa kanya…” (The problem with him…) or “Mali kasi sya…” (He is wrong to begin with…). I was once like them. I was a victim of self-righteousness, entitlement and pride.

If there is one thing that I learned and resounds from the first day I entered the seminary until now, it is how to strip myself off of pride – to look deep within myself and bend down with humility in front of God. I was a sinner before I entered the seminary and still am, now that I am in formation. Just because I don the white clerical does not mean that I am cleansed from my filth inside. I am in the process of cleaning the inside of my cup. It starts from the awareness of my own faults and the desire not to commit the same ones again.

It is a long process. My pains, my issues, my hesitations, my anger, my fears, my distrust, my false idols, my titles, my pride, my habitual sins – they are but a few of the filth inside my cup that need cleaning. It will be through God’s love and mercy that all these things will be revealed to me. I just need to be open to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit within me. It is through these realizations that one is taught the value of humility. It is where hypocrisy ends and sincerity starts.

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