Ezekiel 43:1-7, Ps. 85:9-14, Matthew 23:1-12

“Practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.” (Matthew 23:3)

In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus acknowledged the authority (chair) of Moses held by the scribes and Pharisees and for this, he tells his followers to obey them and observe what they preach. Wherever there is a gathering without a leader, (without someone exercising authority), everything falls apart. Jesus knew the importance of authority; hence, He gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom of heaven making him the head of the church.

Jesus also pointed out the fact that even though the scribes and Pharisees were preaching the truth, they were not living out the truth. Jesus said, practice what they tell you but not what they do. No wonder Jesus referred to them often as hypocrites – whitewashed tombs which outwardly appear beautiful but are full of dead men’s bones inside. All through His public ministry, Jesus sought to correct this anomaly, He tried to make them understand that the washing of the cup must begin from the inside – that God is not moved by the external show of religiosity. Instead of accepting the truth, they were determined to kill Jesus.

We may lie to the world about who we are but we can never lie to God. The worst kind of life (and the most miserable too), is living in pretense; projecting a false image of yourself like an actor on stage. Funny enough, the movie comes to an end too quickly and the audience gets to know the true identity of the characters. As Jesus said: “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” (Luke 12:2)

Am I a religious leader who does not practice what he or she is preaching? Do I have skeletons in my cupboard? Am I doing God’s work just for the fame and material benefits? Am I living out the life that my title connotes? These are very important questions for our self-examination today. Jesus said: “whoever exalts himself will be humbled but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)

Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, free me from pride and from pretense. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saint Bernard, Abbot, Doctor. Bible Study: Ezekiel 43:1-7, Ps. 85:9-14, Matthew 23:1-12).

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu