13st Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A - 5th November 2017

Hypocrites!

Always room for one more

“Father, it’s only a crowd of hypocrites who go to Mass in your church, including, with respect, yourself, Father" said a disillusioned parishioner one day! Unfazed, the parish priest is reputed to have replied: “Do remember, however, there is always room for one more!”

In life all play the hypocrite from time to time.

The word, “hypocrite” is the Greek word for an actor playing a role on the stage. It’s simply wearing a mask, trying to be somebody we are not. How many of us have ever ceased trying to be someone else, even since childhood days, when we took on the character of screen or stage idols.

Matthew as editor in chief

Saint Matthew has editorial control of his gospel and uses all of chapter XXIII to criticize the scribes and the Pharisees. At the time the Christians were suffering at the hands of the Pharisees and even some of the Christians themselves were taking on airs and graces.

A little personal check list for the would-be hypocrite

 Do I easily point out the faults of others while I make excuses for my own shortcomings? (Which one of us has ever been converted by a preachy voice or harsh and heartless criticism?)

 Am I a self-appointed minister of law and order within my family or my community making dishonest demands on others, while, in my own life, I have my own set of laws and behaviours which suit me.

Is my self-esteem dependent on the affirmation of others due to my own lack of security.

We are all created equal by one Father in heaven – a call to humility.

The first reading from the prophet Malachi calls out to us: “Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Jesus says in the gospel: “...you have only one Father, and he is in heaven.” So, the word “hypocrite” is not as bad as it sounds. It only means that we sometimes forget who we all are before God and that no matter what stage we place ourselves on in life, we will, in the end, have to play on the same stage in the final scene of the final act.

Fr.Michael McCullagh c.m.