August 25, 2020
Malvern Minute

 

Tuesday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time

August 25, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

 

Memorial Feast:  Saint Louis, King of France (1214-+1270) Patron Saint of Tertiaries and Saint Joseph Calasanz, Priest (1556-+1648) – Patron Saint of Students

Second Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians 2:1-3a, 14-17

Psalm 96:10, 11-12, 13

Matthew 23:23-26

 

Our Lord does not mince words towards the scribes and Pharisees in today’s Gospel narrative.  He calls them Hypocrites for their focus on tithes and on trivial things while neglecting things that are important such as judgment, mercy and fidelity.

I suspect that none of us would like it very much if we were ever classified as a hypocrite.  The word “hypocrite” is defined as “a person of false virtues and pretends to have moral or religious beliefs and principles.”  Other definitions regard a “hypocrite” as “an actor or someone who puts on a show to draw attention to themselves.”  The scribes devoted their lives to the study of the “The Law of God” and regarded themselves as legal experts in it.  They divided the Ten Commandments and precepts into thousands of tiny rules and regulations.  When they were finished there were over fifty volumes of these “law” interpretations.

Our Lord chastised them for neglecting the more important matters of religion such as justice and the love of God.  The scribes were misguided in their efforts and wound up losing sight of God and the purpose of the law. 

Jesus admonished them because their hearts were not right.  They were filled with pride and contempt for others.  They put unnecessary burdens on others while neglecting to show charity, especially to the weak and the poor.  As you read this Gospel narrative did you notice Jesus’ humorous example to show how out of proportion matters had gotten them?  Well, maybe there was some sarcasm mixed in with the humor.  Gnats were considered the smallest of insects and camels were considered the largest of animals.  Interestingly both were considered ritually impure.  Whether it was sarcasm or humor Jesus’ point was simple and easy to understand.  The essence of God’s commandments is all about love – love of God and love of neighbor.  God is love and everything he does flows from His love for each of us. 

Friends, if the “outside of the cup” is clean and shiny, but the “inside of the cup” is full of self-indulgence, all the surfaces are tarnished.  We have to come clean both inside and out.  We have to work at changing our focus to judgment, mercy and fidelity. 

Question of the Day:  Will you pray that you may apply Jesus’ lesson to the scribes to your heart?

Prayer:  Lord, give me your great love.  Then the honor I give You daily will also be great.

Please continue to pray for the victims of the Coronavirus and for all who are affected by this unprecedented pandemic as well as for peace in our country and in our world.

Prosit

 

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