Matthew 23:23-26
August 25, 2020
Matthew 24:42-51
August 27, 2020

Matthew 23:27-32

21st Week in Ordinary Time Year 2
2 Thessalonians 3:6-10, 16-18
Matthew 23:27-32

A. Text/Context

  • In this gospel, Jesus continues his tirades against the scribes and Pharisees as written by St. Matthew
  • And Jesus uses the practice of the Jews where the tombs of their dead are annually whitewashed to prevent the people from accidentally coming in contact with them as they went up to Jerusalem
  • The graves are kept clean and white as snow, a very striking emblem of those painted hypocrites, the Pharisees, beautiful without, but full of dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness within.”
  • So as much as possible they will only touch things that are clean because the laws of purification would make them unclean if they touch anything belonging to the dead
  • The reason why tombs or sepulchers must be washed white and clean, but of course there are corrupting bodies inside
  • It is the outward conduct that the Pharisees display that makes Jesus a little indignant to them because it speaks of hypocrisy appearing nice outside but inside they are full of malice
  • It suits the representation of the tomb where there are smelly bodies inside

B. Human Situation

  • The gospel today is really self-explanatory. Jesus wishes to convey to us that if we appear nice and beautiful inside it should also apply to our internal being, and not just for a show
  • External beauty can only be skin deep, it cannot reach the mind for knowledge, and it cannot reach the heart for wisdom. External beauty must go beyond skin deep.
  • If we apply the reverse of it that there are good people; who is kind, loving, charitable, and humble they would not even flaunt about it as they are down to earth
  • But as we bear these characters, the authenticity of it eventually shows upon the outside because what goes on upon the inside eventually shows upon the outside
  • God does not care at all how we look like. It is the internal portion of ourselves that God sees
  • Our body is simply a shell for the greater temple where God dwells, the soul; the body rots, the soul remains and it inherits the virtues that we practice when we are past the stage of life
  • It is only us humans and mortal as we are, that we need to care also for our health for longevity, our beauty for confidence. God is different

C. Challenge

  • The challenge for us in today’s gospel is to focus on the honesty and truthfulness of our selves and not only that but the most important is the cultivation of the value of love and charity to others
  • It is not enough to appear to others so dignified and respectable from the outside because it is all the more lacking if it does not carry the values of love
  • God desires love all the more rather than ritual sacrifices. It is the labor of love that God wishes to offer to God
  • Our unruly selves is not worthy of God as reflected in the 1st reading, if we are unwilling to change our inner selves we are not worthy before God’s eyes, hence, the exhortation that if we do not work then we should not eat
  • Our external selves will still remain ugly if our internal selves fail to do and express love and charity
  • The crux of the matter is: Focus on the internal, rather than the peripheral; focus on the spiritual rather than the physical

 

 

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