REFLECTION FOR TODAY,
August 26, 2020
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.” Matthew 23:27-28
When it come to speaking the truth in all honesty Jesus never mince words. Jesus denounces the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees, whose righteousness is only a false appearance, calling them the children of those who murdered the prophets. Jesus speaks in an exceptionally direct way to the Pharisees. He does not hold back at all in His condemnation of them. They are described as both “whitewashed” and “tombs.” They are whitewashed in the sense that they do all they can to make it look, exteriorly, that they are holy. They are tombs in the sense that filthy sin and death live within them. It’s hard to imagine how Jesus could have been more direct and more condemning of them.
One thing this tells us is that Jesus is a man of the utmost honesty. He calls it as it is and does not mix His words. And He does not offer any false compliments or pretend all is fine when it’s not.
How about you? Are you able to act with complete honesty? No, it’s not our job to do what Jesus did and to condemn others, but we should learn from Jesus’s actions and apply them to ourselves! Are you ready and willing to look at your own life and call it as it is? Are you ready and willing to be honest with yourself and with God about the condition of your soul? The problem is that we often are not. We often just go about pretending all is fine and ignore the “dead men’s bones and every kind of filth” lurking within us. That’s not pretty to see and not easy to admit.
So, again, how about you? Can you take an honest look at your own soul and name what you see? Hopefully you will see goodness and virtue and rejoice in that. But you can be certain you will also see sin. Hopefully not to the extent that the Pharisees had “every kind of filth.” But nonetheless, if you are honest you will see some dirt that needs to be cleaned.
Reflect, today, upon how willing you are to 1) honestly name the filth and sin in your life and, 2) sincerely strive to overcome it. Don’t wait until Jesus is pushed to the point of crying out “Woe to you!”
Lord, help me to daily take an honest look at my own life. Help me to see not only the good virtues You have formed within me, but also the filth that is there as a result of my sin. May I seek to be cleansed from that sin so that I can love You more fully. Jesus, I trust in You.