Friday, May 18, 2018
Why did Christ speak so often about hypocrisy?
How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You are like tombs that are painted white. Outside, those tombs look fine, but inside, they are full of the bones of dead people and all kinds of unclean things. – Matthew 23:27
I conducted the funeral in a hall of fine marble. The casket was of rich mahogany. And as the workers slipped the casket into its crypt. I thought how elegant was this act of hiding a dead body from sight.
Christ uses imagery apparently well-known in that time, the white-washed tombs of the rich. For the commoner, the place of rest was of a much humbler kind, but those in high places constructed monuments to themselves for all to admire. “Ah, he must have been an important man to have such a magnificent crypt!” But as pristine and beautiful was this stone edifice for the dead, inside were but the bones, no more than that.
Christ used a number of ways to explain and emphasize this one truth … no matter the persona we present to the world, it is the person within the persona that is the measure of a soul. Hypocrisy troubled Christ … for it is a common sin of the self-righteous.
Human beings tend to fear being exposed for who they really are. Human beings are trained to assume a role in the human drama, to create a character not quite their own. Human beings are timid about becoming transparent lest they be judged as being lesser than others. Human beings hide behind masks we ourselves have crafted.
To live in Christ is to live openly and honestly. Throughout scriptural history, we find so many examples of people hiding from the eyes of God and the eyes of others for fear of becoming exposed. Such is the invitation to be embraced with merciful grace … you are loved for both who you are and for who you will become. Do not be afraid. No need to hide. Come into the Light.
Always in His Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz