Faith Daily | 23 August 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p574
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless
until they find their rest in you:
teach us to offer ourselves to your service,
that here we may have your peace,
and in the world to come may see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 23: 23-26
23 ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practised without neglecting the others. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!
25 ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup,* so that the outside also may become clean.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Michelle Chapman
“Woe to you … hypocrites … blind”. Jesus was furious at the teachers of the law for “neglecting the important matters of the law”. Jesus speaks of “justice, mercy and faithfulness” as more important than what was presented as displays of repentance. Jesus called such presentations as “full of greed and self-indulgence”.
Psalm 139 tells us the Lord knows everything even before we speak. V4 “Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely”. V23 says “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts”. V24 says “See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”.
When God told Samuel (1 Samuel 16) to seek the anointed one, after God regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel, Samuel was sent to Jesse in Bethlehem. As Samuel looked at Jesse’s seven sons the Lord said to Samuel “do not consider his appearance … the Lord does not look at things people look at (the outward appearance)”. But “the Lord looks at the heart”. Samuel was told to anoint David, the eighth and youngest son of Jesse, still only a shepherd and the “spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David”.
God looks at our hearts and God knows what is our thinking as well. Thinking can also indicate hypocrisy despite actions but there are no secrets from our loving God. We cannot hide from God and why would we want to as God loves us unconditionally.
Dear Lord, please protect our hearts and minds so we are true followers and deliverers of “justice, mercy and faithfulness”. Lord, help us to be completely clean, not hypocritical instead living the Fruits of the Spirit and rejoicing in God’s power to know and love us unconditionally.