Meanwhile, when the crowd gathered by the thousands, so that they trampled on one another, he began to speak first to his disciples, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops.
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Our first reading and the Gospel for today share a deep connection, helping us to shed light upon the human relationship with God. St. Paul tells the Ephesians that each and every one of us is “God’s possession.” We belong to Him, and Him only.
We did not create ourselves…in fact the gift of our birth is perhaps the most tangible evidence for God’s unending personal love and grace for us. He knows everything about us…even the number of “hairs on our head,” as the Gospel says.
Once we recognize this truth—that God created us out of his love and mercy for us—such an intimate knowledge brings about a major question related to today’s Gospel reading, namely: what is the root of our temptation to hypocrisy?
The answer lies in what is commonly labeled as the greatest of all sins—pride. Ignatius recognized as well as anybody that Jesuits in particular could struggle with pride. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the objective of completing the next task, we often forget our call to be contemplatives in action. We did not create ourselves, nor did we create our daily to-do lists. Today let’s ask for the humility to remember God’s grace both in the successes and the failures, in all our sicknesses and frustrations, so that we may have the courage to one day completely dedicate ourselves to Him.
-Mr. Ryan McAnany teaches English at St. Louis U. High as a volunteer with the Alumni Service Corps.
Jesus, help me feel your love and know your mercy today;
that my heart, filled with gratitude, ignites a fire in my will
to serve the poorest of my brothers and sisters. Amen!
Please share the Good Word with your friends!