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You wouldn’t have to look too far these days to begin to understand what HYPOCRISY means.  In the last weeks the light of truthfulness has been shone upon firstly our actors and then our politicians whose past transgressions have caught up with them.  It certainly seems to me that every news bulletin has a further development of the abuse scandal sweeping Westminster and Hollywood.  Of course within our own Church we know only too well that abuse has caused great damage to the live of individual women and men; and we need to pray and hope that justice will be served speedily for all who have been damaged through these events.




It is easy to understand from this week’s news and the scandals being exposed there what Jesus is talking about in today’s Gospel.  Jesus is criticising the Pharisees for their ‘hypocrisy.’  He is telling the people how the Pharisees give off a negative example of leadership within their religion: they impose burdens on people’s lives in the name of God; they have an over-the-top show of religious insignis; they claim privileged positions in society in the name of God; and it seems that their great desire is public honour.  Of course, not all Pharisees would have been bad people.  Just like not ALL politicians will be bad.  Just like not ALL actors will be bad.  Yet the message is clear – the Pharisees had strayed from the essential thrust of their faith which was clearly to come close to God and to bring their people close to God.  Tied in with last weekend’s Gospel where the Pharisees were shown to have put too much emphasis on the secondary aspects of their religion forgetting the first and primary commandment – to love God and their neighbour – the message today is clear: Hypocrisy will not bring us happiness nor lead us closer to God.  Only service and sincerity will do that.




That’s where today’s Gospel is leading us – not just to service and sincerity … but to the service and sincerity, the peace and the truthfulness, the LOVE found in Jesus Christ.  If we were to follow the example of our leaders – in Church and society – we might end up on a path of despair; but if we look to Christ and seek to copy his values, then we will be lifted up and follow the path that leads to ultimate happiness.  Once again, if we can only see Jesus more clearly and understand His ways, then we might love him more dearly and follow Him more nearly.




And so I think today is a call for US ALL to reflect on where we have been Hypocrites, where we have sinned.  In this I am reminded of a phrase from Pope Francis that I cam across during the Year of Mercy.  Pope Francis reminded us of a phrase he had picked up as a young Jesuit – FEEL THE SHAME of your sin.  He said that if you can feel the shame of your errors and your sins, then you will be better placed to turn away from them.  Today Pope Francis might encourage you and me, feel the shame of your hypocrisy so that you can grow in love, so that you can grow in Christ.






















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