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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What do you do in daily life to make others think well of you? What do you do secretly to please God? - Daily Reflections August 23, 2016

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT LEGALISM AND
HYPOCRISY
 
I will never forget that good old lady who lamented that the people around her don’t like her. She said, “I do everything that the Lord wants me to do. I hear Mass every day, attend the Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Wednesdays, go to confession every week…” and so the litany of her religious deeds. She seemed to do everything to look good in church, but...
       When I came to know some of her neighbors, I got a totally different picture of this “holy” lady. She was a terrible gossiper, destroying the names and reputation of people around her. Not only that, she was also a terror to the kids in the neighborhood. Whenever I read today’s Gospel passage, I cannot help but remember this lady. Of course, she is an extreme case, but doesn’t the devil of legalism and hypocrisy lurk in all of us? We might not go to the extreme as the lady I mentioned, but we are not immune when it comes to hypocrisy.
       Why is hypocrisy so tempting and why do many of us fall into its trap without realizing it? We are all concerned with looking good to others but at times we miss to be or to do good. It is easier to project a good image than practice what such an image requires.
       Jesus never pretended to be what He was not. And this honesty is one of the reasons that brought Him to the Cross. It is the honesty of the prophets of old who pointed out the evils in their society. And nobody could tell them, “Look first at yourself.” For this honesty, for speaking the truth about the hypocrisy in their society, they were persecuted like Jesus.
       That’s another reason why hypocrisy is so attractive — one avoids being criticized or even persecuted — unless a Jesus or a prophet comes and points out that legalism and hypocrisy can fool people but will never fool God. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
 
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What do you do in daily life to make others think well of you? What do you do secretly to please God?
 
Lord, I thank You that You help me live without a mask, and to please you rather than the people around me. Amen

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