Words and Actions Must Meet

In the Gospel today, Jesus rebukes the scribes and the Pharisees for misleading the people. Jesus knows how the Pharisees and the scribes mess up the law for their benefit. These are known to be officials and learned people who preach about the law yet do not abide by it. They do not “practice what they preach.” Jesus condemns such hypocrisy.

How easy it is for one to fool or mislead others when he is more knowledgeable. Such knowledge becomes a tool to manipulate others. There is no need to go far – such hypocrisy is blatant in the internet, television, and social media platforms. “Fake news” have become so rampant today. How many personalities have used their positions and power to deceive people? How many leaders have promised their constituents of quality service but have never done anything?

Having been part of different communities in my formative journey, I have also been entrusted with leadership roles and assumed positions and some authority. It is indeed difficult to be entrusted with such responsibility. As a leader, many will look up to you and rely on your capacities. Some people would put their whole trust in you as their leader. I realized that the possibility of abusing such power is just there right in front of me. I will make myself a hypocrite if I take advantage of such power. It is always an invitation to practice what I teach or as the dictum says, “to walk the talk.” My actions and words must go together. Confucius once said, “The superior man is ashamed that his words exceed his deeds.”

The Gospel reminds me what kind of a leader and guide I should be. Am I leading the people towards God or to destruction? Leadership must always begin with oneself where his words and actions meet. My words and actions should always lead other people closer to God.

By: Sem. Niñonel M. Setosta

Today’s Gospel

Mt 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
You do not enter yourselves,
nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You traverse sea and land to make one convert,
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna
twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’
Blind fools, which is greater, the gold,
or the temple that made the gold sacred?
And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift,
or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
one who swears by the temple swears by it
and by him who dwells in it;
one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God
and by him who is seated on it.”

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