In today’s Gospel Our Lord points out the irony that the Pharisees on the outside try to appear squeaky clean, but on the inside are hypocritical and evil. The Jews whitewashed tombs because if a Jew came near one or trod on one, he would be ritually defiled, even if he was unaware of it. In using this image Our Lord is warning his listeners that the whitewash the Pharisees have placed on themselves should put them on their guard as well if they don’t want to inadvertently defile themselves.
Hypocrisy even today is one of the greatest sins a person can commit, even for people who have no concept of sin–no one likes a hypocrite. People can try to present themselves as something more or something better than they are, and they seek legitimacy in any way possible. How many people through the Internet either try or imagine themselves to be what they’re not? Jesus reminds us today that God knows our hearts. If God knows us as we truly are, there’s no point in deluding ourselves into thinking that we can live a double life, to be one thing on the inside and another on the outside.
Let’s ask Our Lord today to help be who we are. When we stop trying to be what we’re not he can help us to explore the wealth of who we truly are.
Readings: 1 Thessalonians 2:9–13; Psalm 139:7–12b; Matthew 23:27–32.