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Lenten Weekday
Isaiah1:10, 16-20;
Psalm 50: 8-9, 16bc-17, 23;
Matthew 23: 1-12
In all three readings today we are reminded to serve the Lord. In doing so, and
only by doing so, will we truly overcome our wrongdoings. Matthew’s gospel fo-
cuses on
with the sole purpose of serving the Lord – not with the goal of
being seen.
In today’s gospel I saw a progression of three major themes – 1) practice what
you preach 2)
for the Lord, not yourself 3) we are all brothers and sisters and
are equal.
In the gospel, Jesus spoke to the crowds and his disciples and advised them to
listen to the Pharisees but not to follow their example because “
they preach but
they do not practice”
. This concept is extremely easy to grasp as I am sure we
can all think of many examples of
who can be hypocritical. But in reality,
we all are – at least sometimes. I find that practicing what we preach
can actually be extremely difficult. When I am running late, do I stop
and help the person struggling with their groceries; if I am tired do I
decide to stay late to help out, or if I am upset do I treat my “enemy”
with respect and love? Many times the answer to these questions – at
least for me – can sadly be “no”. I think that in most instances we ra-
tionalize our actions by telling ourselves that its really not a big deal. In
practice however, it is through small steps that we either enforce or
change big habits. Instead of focusing on “practicing we what preach”
perhaps, we should think about “preaching through our practice”.
Jesus goes on to discuss the good works that the Pharisees do perform
and says
“All their works are performed to be seen”
. This is an impor-
tant transition to notice. Assuming that one is doing good works
(practicing what he/she preaches) Jesus is quick to emphasize that the
involved is just as important as the deed itself. At times I also
find this aspect difficult. Not that my intent isn’t to help others or do
the right thing, but I know that there are times that my humanity (ego)