Wednesday, 21st Week in Ordinary Time

            Once again we have Jesus in today’s gospel reading speaking in an exceptionally direct way to the Pharisees. He does not hold back at all in his condemnation of them. He describes them as both “whitewashed” and “tombs.” They are ‘whitewashed’ in the sense that they do all they can to make it look, exteriorly, that they are holy and righteous. They are ‘tombs’ in the sense that filthy sin and death live within them.

            One thing this tells us is that Jesus is a man of the utmost honesty. He calls it as it is and does not mix his words. And he does not offer any false compliments or pretend all is fine when it is not. (John Paul Thomas.)

            How about us? Are we able to act with complete honesty? No, it is not our job to do what Jesus did and to condemn others. But we should learn from Jesus’ actions and apply them to ourselves, not to others. Are you ready and willing to look at your own life and call it as it is? Are you ready and willing to be honest with yourself and with God about the condition of your soul?

            The problem is that we often are not ready and willing. Perhaps we do not have the honesty even just to ask how we could be like the Pharisees – ‘whitewashed’ and ‘tombs’. We often just go about pretending all is fine –denying the masks we wear to look good exteriorly and ignoring the dead man’s bones and every kind of filth” lurking within us. That is not pretty to see and not easy to admit.

            Let us, therefore, pray for the grace of honesty that we may take a look at our own soul and name what we see. Hopefully you will see goodness and virtue in yourself. Be grateful about it and rejoice in that. But you can be certain you will also see sin and filth. If you are honest you will see some dirt that needs to be cleaned. With God’s grace, strive to overcome it. So, let us ask the Lord to help us see not only the good things or virtues he has formed within us, but also the filth that is there as a result of our sin. Let us seek to be cleansed from that sin.

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