Faith Daily | 25 August 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p572
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: 27-32
27 ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. 28So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, 30and you say, “If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.” 31Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Rev’d Sandra
In these verses Jesus is condemning the Pharisees and religious leaders for outwardly appearing holy but inwardly remaining full of corruption. He is particularly critical of the Pharisees displaying honour to the past traditions without have a genuine heart for their present day faith. Their outward actions were those of intensely religious men yet their inward hearts were sinful.
This reminds me of the words of Shakespeare that a person may smile and smile and be a villain. A person may walk with bowed head and reverent steps and folded hands in the posture of humility and all the time be looking down with cold contempt on those whom they regard as sinners. Their very humility may be the pose of pride; and as they walk so humbly, they may be thinking with relish of the picture of piety which they present to those who are watching. For there is nothing harder than for a good person to know they are good and once they know that they are good, their goodness is gone, however they appear to people from the outside.
They are difficult words from Jesus and from Shakespeare - but it seems to me they are none the less still a good reminder for humanity about the difference between appearance and reality in the 21st Century just as much as in the 1st or 15th Century.
FINAL PRAYER: –
From God’s house peace reaches all people and places and makes neighbours friends.(cf. Hebrew 13.20-21 and cf.Mark 9.50)
Gratuitousness of Love – From Psalms of Peace
is joy of the soul,
for those who dwell in your home.
And your Church, our Church
asks and implores peace:
freedom of speech,
justice without privileges,
community of free people,
a realm where everything is
oriented towards serving with love.