22nd Sunday of the Year (August 28th)
The word “Pharisee” is a frequently used English word. When we describe a person as being Pharisaical, we mean that they manifest the worst kind of phoniness – putting on a mask of religious propriety while, at the same time, acting in the opposite direction.
Jesus did not like the Pharisees! In today’s Gospel excerpt, we see that confrontation where the Pharisees, who were the religious leaders of the time, attack Jesus for not obeying the most minute aspects of the Mosaic Law. Our Lord blasts them and points out that it is not the violation of external liturgical laws that is the root of evil, but rather wicked designs that come from the deep recesses of the heart. He then lists a number of them. “All of these evils come from within and render a man impure.”
When we examine our conscience, it is necessary to check ourselves carefully, not so much as to our external religious activities, such as Sunday Mass, but to gaze deeply into our own hearts and see if good works that we perform are carried out because of our love and commitment to Jesus and not in order to enhance our reputation in the eyes of others.
“Let everyone heed what he hears.”