True Worship

Unveil My Eyes, Let Me See You and Others
August 24, 2020
TRADITION
August 25, 2020
PITIK-BULAG: True Worship
 
Our gospel today was a continuation of Jesus’ disgust to the religious leaders of their hypocrisy. The Pharisees and scribes were supposed to be teachers of true worship, unfortunately, they were like blinds leading the blinds. They have lost their sense of proportion. They were climbing the wrong wall. They did not know what matters most in the eyes of God. The Lord’s great disappointment with the religious leaders led Him to say the word “Woe to you” seven times in this chapter as He explicitly enumerated the reasons for saying so.
 
In Greek, the word “woe” or “alas” is used to express the following: First, it is used to express a denunciation; i.e. it is used to denounce someone or something as blameworthy and evil. Second, it is used to express great grief.
 
At the heart of Jesus’ denunciation was not pure judgment but his great desire to correct the religious leaders from their hypocrisy. He believed that the Pharisees and the scribes were appointed by God, yet they were not doing their duties well. Instead of leading the Jews to true worship, they led the Jews away from God.
What made the Lord furious against the religious leaders was their lack of coherence in their practice of faith. First, their words and their activities were a mismatch. They preached something and practiced other things. Second, their exterior life was not a manifestation of their interior life. Their way of practicing their faith was a blatant display of hypocrisy and ignorance. It was not true worship but a showcase of oneself.
 
We may have judged the religious leaders during the time of Jesus. But it’s better to look at ourselves and evaluate ourselves. Consider the following points in your prayer and reflection:
 
1. Lost of Sense of Proportion. The Pharisees and scribes were so strict in implementing the law of tithing but lenient in practicing justice, mercy, and faith (Matthew 23:23). They missed the point of true worship. As the Lord would say, “It is mercy that I desire, not burnt offerings.”
 
What about you? Are you giving more weight in practicing mercy, love, and justice? Is this your priority in your decision making and action?
 
2. An Exterior Worship. In their desire to be praised and honored by the people, the religious leaders concentrated their worship in the external. And the Lord denounced such hypocrisy of false worship. It was empty worship. Beautiful in the outside, but nothing in the inside but greed, selfishness, and sins.
 
What gives dignity to a person is not his words and his external appearance but HIS WORDS AND HIS INTERNAL DISPOSITION. The religious leaders lack these weightier things. They do not know the meaning of true worship and what really pleases the Lord. They desire to please themselves but not God. In the end, they adore themselves as their gods.
 
How do you manifest your faith? Where is your concentration? Are your actions a manifestation of your faith? Are you giving more importance to justice, mercy, and faith? Are you good outside and outside? Will you be happy to show to the Lord what’s in your heart?
 
When we come to worship the Lord, he wants us first to reconcile ourselves with our brothers and sisters (Matthew 5:24). I think this is also true with ourselves. Make sure that our words and words are united. Make sure that we know our priorities: justice, mercy, and faith. Make sure that we wear the wedding garment – that’s the garment of righteousness.
 
Clean our inside first. Rearrange your priorities from God’s standards. We don’t want to hear our Lord saying, “Woe to you!” Or to hear him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe? Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:12-14).”
 
– Pitik-Bulag
 
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August 25, 2020 – Tuesday
Gospel Reading: Matthew 23: 23-26

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