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Tuesday of the Twenty-FirstWeek in Ordinary Time

Hypocrisy makes you blind

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. (But) these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean. Mt 23,23-26

This passage from Matthew’s Gospel asks us to pause and reflect upon the image of the whitened sepulchres, beautiful to behold, but full of decay. Today, the dominant habit compels us almost inevitably to give excessive importance to appearance, while we neglect the inner life, and sometimes we hide our look because it is not too presentable. We do everything to create in the other’s mind a nice picture of us, trying to anticipate and comply with the others’ judgement criteria, hardly caring to what extent our choices in life may be pleasing to the Lord. Perhaps the hypocrisy the gospel so hardly condemns precisely consists in not asking ourselves whether our choices are in accordance with the plan the Lord has for us, preferring to pursue other purposes, apparently good, but that reflect our desires and often only our interests. Sometimes the wrong choices are almost unconscious. They reflect what we think to be good, they reflect our intentions and perhaps they are meant to win the other ones’ approval. It comes to our mind what happened in recent times, to three woman friends who had put together in business, with the only result of losing even their long time friendship. We realized that the hypocrisy is really a sneaky attitude. Those who fall into it, they start deceiving themselves first about the goodness of their behaviour, believing they can deceive also their neighbours. The temptation in which we think our friends fell consisted in separating business from friendship and affections. It is true that they are different fields, but it is also true that friendship is more important than business. It is almost a vicious circle: I want to pursue my plans and interests, and to do so peacefully, I convince myself that what I want to do is right and good. Then I also try to get the others’ approval, in order to testify the goodness of my deeds and go on the chosen path with a clear conscience. In these years, however,
the Lord has taught us that the plans are certainly his if they are good and fair for everybody. This is the litmus test to evaluate, step by step, our actions and our choices.

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