Do as I Say, Not as I Do
Gospel Reflection for August 22, 2022
It’s a lot easier to say that we are Christian, than to live as a Christian. Sure, we might pray, read the Bible, and talk to others about God and our faith, but when push comes to shove, do we live and respond to various situations in a way that is in accordance with our Christian values? Were we patient when God called us to be? Did we gossip or become angry? Have we waited for marriage or lied?
When we call ourselves Christians, but do not “practice what we preach,” we are not in a true relationship with God, and we can lead others astray by our bad example. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for such hypocritical behavior.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.” (Mt. 23:13-15 NABRE)
The scribes and Pharisees, the spiritual leaders of the time, were supposed to help guide people into the Kingdom of Heaven. Instead, they made it impossible for people to enter the Kingdom because of their bad example, and because they burdened people with their many empty rules and stipulations. Further, when Jesus came to show people the way to the Kingdom, rather than allowing entrance, they blocked those who wanted to enter by rejecting Jesus and accusing Him of blasphemy. The scribes and Pharisees went through the motions of being holy, but they did not follow God with their hearts.
Though we will never be perfect, and though we will still sin and make mistakes, may we strive always to avoid hypocrisy by following God with our hearts, and not with empty words and actions! Rather than being led astray, may others be introduced to Christ by the way that we live.