15 March, Tuesday – Hypocrisy

Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Lent

Isa 1:10,16-20
Mt 23:1-12

“You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say, but do not be guided by what they do; since they do not practice what they preach.”

Sound familiar? If we are honest with ourselves, we are all hypocrites like the Pharisees (at one point or another). It is so much easier to find faults in others than to recognise our own issues. We notice the rudeness of someone, yet we don’t notice it when we become rude to others. We notice the selfishness of others while we fail to notice our own greediness. We congratulate ourselves, secretly of course, that we are not like those others. You get the idea. This kind of thinking is so subtle and insidious, we are often unaware of this attitude until it has taken form in our minds. I am guilty of this.

Fellow sinners, as the Gospel today says, “we have only one Teacher, the Christ”. Our Lord teaches us time and time again to be humble in heart, pure in spirit and simple in mind. What do these all mean? Sounds humanly impossible. By our own powers, it is impossible to attain. But with God, everything is possible. We don’t have to go from 0 to 100 or from sinner to saint overnight. We start with a little at a time, entrusting ourselves to His care and following His example. Start with daily prayers, and you will notice your attitude changing day by day. Pray for a humble heart and pure intentions. Start with a simple act of kindness or refrain from thinking ill of another, you will notice that you will develop more compassion and empathy. Next time when you are tempted to think ill of another, take a step back to look at their actions, and then look at your own. It may surprise you that there are often similarities. Perhaps then, when we recognise the plank in our own eye and remove it, then can we help our brethren with the splinter in theirs.

We know that Jesus criticised the scribes and Pharisees harshly at times, out of love and not spite. They failed to listen to Him and His teachings. They eventually played a hand in killing our Lord, who died to save us. My brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not be like the Pharisees. Let us heed Christ’s warnings and teachings. Let us practice what we proclaim and, in doing so, truly become followers of Christ.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, help us to recognise our own faults before others. Help us to be humble and pure, and not to be hypocritical.

Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us and sending Your Son to atone for our sins. Thank you for correcting us when we are wrong and always forgiving us.

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