Today’s Gospel: Matthew 23, 23-26
This short Gospel reflection is more of those “woes” to the Pharisees. Do you form a vivid image in your mind about these men? I know I do. I am not at all like those hypocrites.
Or am I?
Jesus tells those Pharisees (and us) to keep the inside of our cup clean, not just the outside. It’s like we have a beautiful tea cup where we polish the gold trim, and keep the painted roses on the outside clean and shiny, but when we look inside the cup, there is a moldy teabag. Who would want tea from this cup?
We can spend more time worrying about the appearance of what we do rather than what the motive and real result is. In fact, for some of us, this becomes so much the norm, that we seldom look deeper.
Here are some examples from my life as embarrassing as this may be to share: Our family is attending Mass. We all walk in, genuflect, and take our seats. Aren’t we a holy-looking family? Little does anyone know that we just had a huge blowout in the car with two of the pre-teen boys fighting, both parents losing their temper, and very unkind words said. My concern wasn’t our family feud, but it how it would look entering Mass if we were upset and red-faced. I wanted the outside of my cup to look good. I didn’t care about the inside.
Or how about this example? Have you ever kneeled in church with eyes closed in proper prayer position not because you were praying, but just because you wanted others to think you were praying? And have you ever posted a picture on Instagram or Facebook to just give a particular impression of yourself?
Yes, we all polish the outside of our cups.
Am I more concerned about what other people “hear” from me when I am in conversation with them (like what image am I creating of myself) instead of actually listening to what they are saying?
Lord, we know that you look at our hearts. Please help me to be concerned about what you see and not what the world sees.
Copyright 2016 Tami Kiser
Although employed as a dance teacher, Tami spends most of her time as matriarch to 10 children, 4 daughter-in-laws, 5 grandchildren, and numerous pets. She is the author of Smart Martha’s Catholic Guide for Busy Moms. You can find her ministries on the web at SmartMartha.com, CatholicFamilyCelebrations.com, and CatholicConference4Moms.com.