When I was in my first year of college, I had a class on Sunday mornings. Since masses in my parish were all scheduled in the morning, this prevented me from attending mass there. After class, I would usually find myself in haste just so I could attend the mass at a nearby parish in the afternoon. I often declined my friends’ invitations to hang out by telling them that I needed to attend the mass. Part of it was that I really wanted to go to Church, but another part was to look good in the eyes of my friends.
I remember the first time I attended the mass in that parish. I was disappointed with the choir because they were not in sync with the accompaniment and sometimes sung out of tune. Their lectors, too, seemed unprepared. The parishioners would just come and go and most of them would arrive late. The lighting of the altar was rather dim and the presider was not enthusiastic enough in giving his homily. I could not help but compare almost everything with how it is in our own parish. I even resolved to look for another parish that could celebrate the mass more solemnly. I then realized that I was not really attending the mass for worship and thanksgiving but to criticize, compare, and look good in the eyes of other people.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus pitied the scribes and Pharisees for being hypocrites and for not realizing the substantial things of the law, which are judgment, mercy, and fidelity. I am being challenged not to fall for the sin of hypocrisy—consumed by the desire to look good only on the outside and in the eyes of other people. I am asked to imbibe the spirit of humility and genuinely live out the teachings of Christ.
By: Sem. Ericson Y. Austria
Mt. 23: 23-26
“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.”