1 Thess 2:9-13; Mt 23:27-32
The gospel for today changes the tone as it sends us a strong message with Jesus warning,
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.
Jesus challenges the hypocrisy of some of the religious leaders, who have robbed religion of its meaning by focusing only on laws and appearances. We can tell he's angry, because their pseudo-holiness not only doesn't take people deeper into their faith, but causes others to turn away, making them cynical about religion. In so many ways, Jesus reminds us that our holiness has to be better than the mere "externals" of religion. It's about a change of heart, an interior conversion, about placing our trust completely in him. He is "heartsick" that these people whom he loved had hardened their hearts so much against his message.
About whom are we heart-sick today? This isn't the question of about whom are we judgmental today? It is a question of whom do we love so much, that we deeply desire that they might come to know the Lord more, know the Lord's healing love for them? That will tell us who those people are in our lives that we need to faithfully love today and every day. If they are to know that God loves them, they need to see and believe an un-hypocritical, unselfish love in us. They need to experience our love, as unconditional and healing, before they might be able to believe in God's love as without strings and full of compassion.
By M. Waldron