Daily Reflection for Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Tuesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3a, 14-17
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96:10, 11-12, 13
Gospel: Matthew 23:23-26
Our reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
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. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean. Matthew 25-26
This monologue by Jesus denouncing the scribes and Pharisees has been described as “. . . the most terrible and sustained denunciation in the New Testament.”
Commentaries say that Jesus’ term “hypocrites” is better translated as “play acting.” The scribes and Pharisees were more focused on appearances on the stage rather than in the trenches . . . on saying rather than on doing. They skirted major matters – like caring for others – so as to focus on a broad array of minor rules. Jesus said, “. . . they preach but they do not practice.”
It is so easy to “play act” . . . to seek affirmations for “what we say.” And it’s so hard to follow up with down-to-earth actions. Sometimes it’s a challenge simply to decide where and how to start!
Perhaps it’s best that we start with an honest appraisal of our own needs and talents. God wants us to use the unique talents and capabilities with which we are blessed. They comprise the path to our peace of mind and spirit. Having found that path, my heart and soul are then able to discern how I can best respond . . . I can open my heart and better discern how I can best answer God’s call to serve.
Where and how to answer a call to serve has changed for me through the years. At times, “family” has sometimes been spouse or relatives, sometimes it was “the family I chose,” including friends and neighbor whose needs we could meet with loving care. In responding to helping them, I’ve needed to remember to seek God’s help to find the appropriate response, and the right balance between the needs, my abilities, and my other responsibilities. Sometimes it was a very difficult discernment.
When we can accomplish the goal of actually being of service to another, to participate in lifting up another, that can start a chain reaction by which we enable them to help meet the needs of others.
I’ve found that the two best starting points are LOVE and TODAY. How will I show love for the next person I meet? How will I instill love in my next actions today, my next decisions, in whatever manner that is asked of me today? It all starts with the “inside of the cup” – a willing and open heart.
Peace be with you, my friends,