- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

August 27, 2019

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

21st Tuesday in Ordinary Time
1 Thess 2: 1 – 8; Ps 139; Matthew 23: 23 – 26

St. Paul proclaimed: “…we were judged worthy by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, that is how we speak, not trying to please men, but rather God who judges our hearts.” Surely Paul took as his example the Lord Jesus Himself who in His preaching was not out to please people, to gain some kind of a “groupie” following.

In the Gospel we hear Him telling the scribes, Pharisees as it is: “Woe to you, hypocrites.” this was enough to raise their ire towards Him. He called them hypocrites – the word comes from the Greek, it means an “actor.”  Like actors, they are very convincing in their words, in their actions but these are like parts in a play. It is all very external, very much seen and heard but the heart, the soul is lacking the depth of judgment, mercy and fidelity.

Such a way of life is in reality empty, sterile, devoid of truth – it is not of God. Very self-satisfying, a kind of idolatry, religion for the sake of religion – a way of acting but not the way of becoming – of true conversion of heart.

The Gospel is proclaimed to us so that we take to heart Jesus’ words – that we reflect on how they impact our own lives. True follower – good actor? Integrity of heart – hypocrite? Where do I/you stand in all this?

I do not think I or anyone can answer that question on our own? How I see myself, judge myself can be self-deception pure and simple. I believe the answer must be sought in prayer. Lord, how do You see me? Lord, how does my life as a believer appear before You? Clearly, such prayer is courageous – not just a pious question but a prayer that goes to the heart. The answer from the Lord just might shake me/you.

Perhaps, our prayer, at first, is “Lord, grant me the courage to ask, to seek Your light.”