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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Thess 2:9-13): You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery. Working night and day in order not to burden any of you, we proclaimed to you the Gospel of God. You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers. As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children, exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into his Kingdom and glory. And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly, that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God, which is now at work in you who believe.
Responsorial Psalm: 138
R/. You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
Where can I go from your spirit? From your presence where can I flee? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.

If I take the wings of the dawn, if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall guide me, and your right hand hold me fast.

If I say, «Surely the darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light», for you darkness itself is not dark, and night shines as the day.
Versicle before the Gospel (1Jn 2:5): Alleluia. Whoever keeps the word of Christ, the love of God is truly perfected in him. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 23,27-32): Jesus said, «Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs beautiful in appearance, but inside there are only dead bones and uncleanness. In the same way you appear as religious to others, but you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness within. Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous. You say: Had we lived in the time of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in the blood of prophets. So, you yourselves confess to be kins of those who murdered the prophets. And now, finish off what your ancestors began!».

«Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!»

Fr. Lluís ROQUÉ i Roqué (Manresa, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, as in previous days, and in others to follow, we contemplate Jesus, beside himself, condemning those attitudes incompatible with a dignified and decent life, not only Christian but also human: «You appear as religious to others, but you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness within» (Mt 23:28). He confirms us that sincerity, honesty, loyalty, nobility, are virtues God loves and are, also, very much appreciated by us, humans.

Therefore, if I wish to avoid being a hypocrite I must be very sincere. First, with God. Because He wants me pure in heart and hating all lies, as He is totally pure, the true Truth. Secondly, with myself, so that I am not the first one to be deceived, exposed to sin against the Holy Spirit for not admitting my own sins or not clearly making them manifest in the Sacrament of Penance, or for not trusting God enough, He who never condemns the prodigal son or loses anyone for being a sinner, but rather for not admitting to be one. In the third place, with others, for —like in the case of Jesus— lies, deception, insincerity, dishonesty, disloyalty and low-mindedness..., drive us up the wall and, therefore, we should be able to apply to ourselves the principle: «Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you».

In order not to fall in hypocrisy, we have to make ours these three attitudes —that we can just consider as plain common sense— while assuming that we need the sanctified grace, because of the original sin originated by the “father of lies”: the devil. This is why we should pay attention to St. Josemaria's exhortation: «When the time of examination comes, be prepared against the dumb devil»; we shall also bear in mind Origen, who says: «All faked saintliness remains dead because it does not work by the impulse of God», and we shall be always lead by the elementary and simple principle proposed by God: «Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’ mean ‘No’» (Mt 5:37).

The Virgin Mary does not overdo herself with words, but her yes to goodness, to grace, was unique and truthful; and her ‘no’ to evil, to sin, was emphatic and sincere.