Today’s Gospel reading comes from Matt 23:13-22. In this very cryptic passage, Jesus asks a couple of piercing questions:
- Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? Matt 23:17
- You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Matt 23:19
Jesus asks these questions because He is not happy with the actions of the Scribes and the Pharisees. He sees them as hypocrites, as they do not “walk the talk.” Their actions differ from their speech. The Scribes and Pharisees speak of the promotion of piety, but do not act pious. They believe their words alone will suffice in garnering the desired prestige of the community. Their intentions are corrupt; thereby making their actions immoral.
In this passage, Jesus points out that the source of all goodness comes from God, not from man’s piety. Jesus uses the metaphor of the temple being more sacred than the gold within the temple. He reinforces His argument, by noting that it is the altar, itself, that is more sacred than the gifts presented at a liturgical ceremony. The point that Jesus tries to make is that what comes from God is sacred (the temple; the altar). Everything else is superfluous.
Jesus asks you a few questions:
If Jesus were sitting across from you, at your kitchen table, and asked you these questions, how would you answer?
- Do you respect what is sacred?
- Do you recognize the source of all goodness?
- Are you trying to impress only Me?
- Do you “walk the talk?”
If you answered “yes” to all these questions – Great! However, if you answered “no” to any, or all of them, then it is time to do some soul searching. Listen to Jesus’ words from this Gospel. Strive to live up to His command to respect what is sacred. Recognize God as the source of all goodness. Seek to care only what God thinks of you, and “walk the talk.” If you do so, then you truly will embrace the virtue of piety.
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