Today’s Gospel: Matthew 23:27-32
“Woe to you!” Jesus says these words twice to the scribes and Pharisees in these verses. In fact, this Gospel passage is only a small segment of an entire series of “Woe to you” proclamations Jesus made. Each one is followed by a different admonishment. In verses 27-28, Jesus admonishes them for not making their interiors as holy as their exteriors. And what a vivid image he uses! Contrasting the “whitewashed tombs” of their exteriors to the “bones of the dead” they carry around inside.
In verses 29-32, Jesus admonishes them for building and decorating the tombs of the prophets, but then not acting like them. It’s a little like saying, “Mother Teresa of Calcutta was great. I’ll build a monument in memory of her, but don’t expect me to care for the poor.”
For us, this Gospel reading can act as an examination of conscience for two particular points. First, do our interior thoughts match our actions? Sure, we may put on a “holy front” by doing all the things a good Catholic should do (going to Mass, volunteering in the parish, participating in charitable acts), but do we keep our thoughts holy as well? And secondly, do we really try to emulate the saints and the prophets who went before us? It’s one thing to have saint statues in our homes and gardens. It’s a completely different thing to try to live like they did.
Which is the greater challenge for you—keeping your thoughts holy or emulating the saints—and how can you make one small improvement in that area today?
Heavenly Father, may my thoughts and my actions be of one accord so that I can always follow in the examples of the saints who’ve gone before me.
Copyright 2017 Amy Cattapan
A.J. Cattapan is an award-winning author, speaker, and middle school English teacher. Her debut young adult novel, Angelhood, has been an Amazon bestseller in Christian teen fiction and won two awards. Her second novel, Seven Riddles to Nowhere, tells the story of a boy trying to save his Catholic school from closing. Follow her at www.ajcattapan.com.
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