Lord, thank you
for your Gospel and for all the truth it teaches me. Thank you for warning me of attitudes and
dispositions that could become temptations for me. I love you for your goodness and mercy, and I
entrust myself into your loving hands.
Lord, help me to
serve you sincerely, in truth and in love.
1. "This people honors me only with lip
service, while their hearts are far from me:" Jesus calls his disciples to authenticity. Too
often so-called disciples give the impression of following him, while at the same time accepting
sensual loves and lusts in their heart. Although the Pharisees display the outward trappings of
holiness, the way they treat Jesus and others betrays their true character. Jesus would call them
"whitewashed tombs" (Matthew 15:27): clean and bright on the outside, but full of dead men's bones
within. Self-righteousness would be their downfall. Such dispositions may lend the proud man certain
short-term security, but it will always be illusory since it is not rooted in the truth. Is there
any way in which I also pay tribute to God with my lips but say something else in my heart, or
behave contrariwise in my actions?
2. "The worship they offer me is
True worship begins with humility, when the soul recognizes that it possesses no
good in and of itself, but that all of its goodness comes from God. The Pharisees offered no real
worship to God since, in effect, they worshipped only themselves by relying more on their talents
and goodness than on the goodness that comes from God. It is not insignificant that when Jesus
describes a Pharisee's prayer in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, he says The
Pharisee prayed this prayer to himself (Luke 18:11). How can I make sure that my prayer is
truly devoted, meaning that I am addressing Our Lord with the words of my heart?
"You make God's word null and void:"
The Pharisees used the talents and gifts God had given
them not for God's glory, but for their own personal gain, whether that gain consisted of praise and
admiration or personal comfort and ease. True worship of God, truly placing God above all else,
involves using the things God created as means to reaching him. As number 226 of the Catechism of
the Catholic Church states, "It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One,
leads us to use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to him, and to detach
ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from him:
My Lord and my
God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and my God,
give me everything that brings me closer to you.
My Lord and my God, detach me
from myself to give my all to you."
Conversation with Christ:
Lord, thank you
for my life and all the good things you have
given me. Help me to realize that you have
and that all I have is from you. May I use all I have to serve
others and as a means to come closer to you, the source of all good.
I will examine my conscience to see if I am using any of my
gifts and talents to glorify or serve only myself. If so, I'll strive to put these same gifts at the
service of God.