Archive for category Hypocrisy

December 23, 2017: Thoughts on the 8th Day of Simbang Gabi 2017!

Human beings have natural admiration for people who are so real, so true and so faithful to their words, promises, convictions and beliefs. On the other hand, we have that natural aversion against people who are pretentious, dishonest, and insincere. Why? Because deep within us we value truthfulness, sincerity, and faithfulness. In addition, experience teaches us that any form of hypocrisy, untruthfulness, and dishonesty can turn a person’s whole life into a “living lie”.

Truth as uprightness in human action and speech is called truthfulness, sincerity or candor. Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and in guarding against duplicity, dissimulation and hypocrisy” (CCC 2468).

As a people of God and followers of Jesus, we have the moral obligation to seek the truth. Once we come to the knowledge of truth we are bound to adhere to the truth and “to live in the truth” (Rm 3:4; cf. Ps 119:30) and speak the truth. For God is a God of truth and calls us to the fullness of truth. God is a God who will never deceive us nor can be deceived by us.  Once God has given his word or promises, God will fulfill that word, God will fulfill His promise in His own time, in His own ways even in ways seems to be unthinkable, scandalous and impossible to human beings!

Remember the story of the birth of Isaac.  When an angel announced to Abraham that her wife Sarah  who is barren and in her old age already that she will conceive and bear a son and name him Isaac, Abraham bowed down to the ground and laughed to himself in disbelief and said: “Can a child be born to a man who a hundred years old? Can Sarah give birth at ninety?

Sarah when she learned also that she would conceive in her womb and bear a son,  Sarah laughed to herself and said, “Now that I am worn out and my husband is old, am I still to have sexual pleasure? But the Lord said to Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and say, “Will I really bear a child, old as I am?”” “Is that thing too difficult for the Lord to do so? At the appointed time, about this time next year, I will return to you, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid. But God said, “Yes, you did.” As the Lord God has promised, the prophecy was fulfilled.

When angel Gabriel [Lk. 1:19] had appeared to Zachariah and told him that his wife would bear a son who must be named John. [Lk. 1:13] Zachariah, being of old age, did not believe Gabriel, he became mute and was to remain so until the fulfillment of this prophecy. [Lk. 1:20] When Zachariah wrote on the table that the name of the child must be John, three things became obvious: The prophecy that Elizabeth would bear a child was fulfilled. The prophecy that the child would be called John was fulfilled. And the prophecy that Zachariah would be able to speak again was fulfilled at that moment.

In view of all this, it is no wonder that “fear came over all the neighbors and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea.” [Lk. 1:65] Those who heard of these things, they asked themselves in their heart, “What then will this child become?” [Lk. 1:66]

Like God let us strive to be sincere, truthful and faithful in every moment and every aspect of our lives.  Let us always guard ourselves against the evil and the danger of hypocrisy, duplicity, and dissimulation. Let us not allow lies, deceits, and pretentions ruin our lives and other people. Let our lives be credible and trustworthy because of our consistency and our ”palabra de honor.”  One we have given our word, once we have given our promises, we have to fulfill them wholeheartedly, freely and generously! Say what you mean! Mean what you say!

“This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man” (William Shakespeare, Hamlet)

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Mark 6:1-6, 16-18 Almsgiving, Prayer, Fasting

In Christian morality, there is a principle that states: a human act that is good in itself becomes morally evil when it is done for a wrong purpose and with bad intention. In today’s Gospel, Jesus denounced the act of doing the “right thing” with a wrong purpose. To illustrate his point Jesus used as examples the three pillars of Jewish religion on which the good life is based: almsgiving, prayer and fasting. Why are they considered three pillars of the Jewish religion. Because, to the Jews, when a person gives alms, prays and fasts he fulfills the law, becomes a righteous person and receives the reward of a just man.

Here, Jesus did not condemn the Jews in general and the scribes and Pharisees in particular for their devotions and good works. In fact, he even enjoined his disciples to keep on praying, fasting and giving alms or deeds of mercy because these are all good, virtuous, and praiseworthy in themselves . What Jesus really condemned is the act of doing  the right things with the wrong purpose. That is why he warned them of four dangers whey they perform their devotions and good works: hypocrisy, self-righteousness, arrogance, and ostentation (public display of devotion and good works for personal vain glory).

As we go on with the celebration of the Mass, let us pray to the Lord that we will not be tempted to multiply, exaggerate  and parade our devotions and good works in public for personal vainglory. Rather, let us ask for more graces from God that we can pursue and grow in our devotion to Christ and multiply our good works done with sincerity, humility and for the right purpose of glorifying God as the Lord said “Let your light shine before the people so that seeing your good works they may glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

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