As a little child growing up in the village, we had a man who wrote on his tattered and haggard bus. ‘Don’t mind the Body.’ There was nothing inviting and enticing about the physical features of this particular vehicle, but there was never a time that this vehicle stopped on the way. The vehicle had a sound engine. However,  there were other nice looking vehicles but their engines very bad. Flashy things often are not strong things; and appearance very deceptive. This is the focus of today’s reflection.

Jesus addresses the Pharisees who concentrated so much on the external observance of the laws and traditions so as to be applauded by men. But in truth, their hearts were far away. Religious showmanship may work for men, certainly not for God . God demands more than just acting. The matters that strike at the heart our relationship with God are certainly not the external features of religion. Sadly enough, our society has much regard for church goers, those who strictly adhere to religious practices, who contribute their tithes, who spend much time in Church, and even those who work parade as wonder workers. We hold these ‘religious people’ in great esteem. But some of these are only actors on stage performing a drama, in the real sense their hearts are full of mischief and wickedness.

 Thus, Jesus’ condemnation of the Scribes and Pharisees encourages us to redefine our understanding of what God expects from us. The most essential matter of religion is not sacrifice but justice and mercy. Hence, St. Louis IX admonishes us: Be kind-hearted, affectionate and compassionate to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can. Thank God for all the benefits he has bestowed upon you, that you may be worthy to receive greater.

 May God bless His Words in our hearts through Christ our Lord. Amen


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