For a more enriching experience,
go down on your knees to pray or take it one step further
and prostrate yourself (lay face down) on the floor while praying.
Father, today's reading below is a stark reminder of how easy it is to get wrapped up in what I think I know, which really ends up feeding my ego instead of serving You. The scribes and Pharisees were so concerned about following their ritualistic practice that they were not actually living their belief in their daily lives. They were simply going through the motions. Jesus called them out telling them how they do things more for vanity, appearance and pretense. In other words, all they were doing was acting and pretending, which meant they were hypocrites. Jesus pointed out that they were more concerned about rituals, like whitewashing (painting) coffins of the dead for appearances sake, than they were concerned about the actions of envy, gluttony, greed, hatred, lust, pride and slothfulness in themselves. They were right on board with the pretend program. Everything that the scribes and Pharisees did was out of appearance and ego. They were about serving themselves, not You. It is interesting that these religious leaders would even think to demand a standard of living from others but yet did not satisfy that standard themselves. It is not only religious leaders who do this, it is lay people as well, which is probably why it is so easy for Jesus to use the scribes and Pharisees as an example in order to show the rest of us what it boldly and blatantly looks like. We are really no different than them when we engage in the same egotistical and self-serving behaviors in order to prop ourselves up above others. Who are we to bad mouth religious leaders if we are no better?
Thank You for this wonderful awareness of how often I allow my ego to get in the way and when that happens, it blocks me from seeing You. I do this to myself, You do not do it to me. You never leave me, it is I who leave You. Forgive me Father for all of the times when I pretend, act and busy myself with engaging in hypocritcal behavior that is unbecoming of who You created me to be. My desire is to have my outward appearance match my inner spiritual reality. Thank You for Your mercy and not giving me what I probably deserve, but instead giving me time to grasp the errors of my ways and make changes. You truly are kind, forgiving, just and merciful. I Love You!
Through Jesus Christ's Most Precious Blood, Most Sacred Name and Most Holy Face, I thank You for this awareness. Amen~
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.
28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
30 saying, `If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'
31 Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers."
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ
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