August 26,2014

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. Al Pestano):

To receive and to give fraternal corrections are really painful and difficult thing to do.  Both, the giver and the receiver need an attitude of docility or openness to what is being corrected.  They both need to look inwardly to see whether what has been said is correct on the part of the receiver and for the giver. He or she needs to look whether the correction that he or she is giving is really something that needs to be corrected to the other person or it is just the need or the issue of the one giving.  The burden is more on the one who gives the correction because he or she needs to look first at himself or herself before correcting others.

When I was new in our seminary community I found it difficult and painful to live in the company of brothers who did all forms of fraternal corrections to me.  My initial reactions to these fraternal corrections are “mere criticisms” and nothing more.  This was when I still had so many resistances in formation.  But later on, I eventually accepted that it was really fraternal corrections that needed my openness so that I may grow as a person and as a priest-in-process.  As I grew in the formation I had adjusted already to the community life and I myself, once in a while, give fraternal correction. In all instances, I have to reflect several times before I give corrections in order for me to find out whether the fault is really on the other person or it is just only me seeing myself on the other person.

The Gospel today invites us to see and check ourselves whether we are clean both inside and outside.  Most of the times we want to look good always on the outside thus we give a lot of comments and corrections to others but we fail to see our inner self that is full of ugly things in the form of wrong intentions in giving corrections such as malice, false judgments and accusations to our brothers and sisters. Our actions may reflect what is inside of us and we fail on this aspect because we only want to see what is beautiful in us and we cannot accept the ugly part of ourselves which other people can see.  What happened is that we look at ourselves as someone who is admirable and we become deaf to what others are saying.  We become self-righteous people and the people around us are the ones always wrong.  We become hypocrites. Jesus in the Gospel is telling us that we need to see to it that our inner self is from which the outside follows.


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