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Denunciation of the scribes and pharisees

Gospel reading: Mt 23:27-32

Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”


You are like whitewashed tombs. Jesus’ attacks against the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees are an appeal to us, His disciples, to be genuine and authentic, to be true and without duplicity, as He said of Nathanael (cf Jn 1:47). Those who are true to themselves and true to others, and reflect without pretense by their actions what they are on the inside, are called persons of integrity.

The struggle to become persons of integrity is a lifetime process. While we are sinners, there will continue to be a gap between what we want to be and what we actually are, between what is in our heart and what we show in our actions. But by the grace of God we can succeed.

St. Augustine was a man who walked from a divided self to the real integrity of a saint — all because of God’s grace, to which he responded with humility and great effort.

If St. Augustine succeeded, we can do it, too —by God’s abundant grace.

SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2012,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.,); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.