By Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg
“So you also outwardly appear righteous to men,
but within you are full of hypocrisy and inequity.” ~ Matthew 23:28
In the early days of the western American frontier, buildings often had architectural false fronts. While the building was only one or two stories, the false front typically extended at least another story beyond. The idea was to project success and stability.
For much of my life before becoming Catholic, I was that tiny building with a false front. On the outside, I was a successful, popular radio host, having fun with many friends and opportunities to stroke my ego. I took great care to ensure that you saw me as a success, but behind that false front was a woman who had come to the end of herself. No number of fun experiences, new friends, admiration, or career success could fill up the hole inside of me. I knew that, and I also knew that only God could fill it.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus takes the scribes and Pharisees to task. They appear righteous and important due to their position, but beyond that whitewashed exterior, they live in the same spiritual desert I was in.
I’ve been Catholic now for thirty years, and I still struggle with my ego and too much emphasis on people thinking well of me. But through the Sacraments of the Church, Jesus has taught me to tame those character defects. The effort I put into myself in the sacraments, where it’s appropriate, leads me to turn my focus to what’s much more important than me – worshipping, serving, and following God and loving and serving you out of my love for Him.
We can all be like the scribes and Pharisees occasionally, but a life focused on worshipping God and availing ourselves of the Sacraments can help our outside and insides be a perfect match.
Lord, I pray today for the wisdom to see and correct my hypocrisy and evildoing.
Call to Action
Take an inventory of your use of the Sacraments of the Church. If you don’t go to Mass outside of Sunday, confess your sins regularly, or have the proper focus on your marriage, ask God to help you see where you can maintain a steadier commitment to the Sacraments.
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