25th August 2021
ENTREPRENEURIAL VERSES HYPOCRITICAL SPIRITUALITY
2 Thessalonians 3: 6–18
Psalms 139: 7-12
Matthew 23: 27–32
An entrepreneurial spirituality is a kind of spirituality that adds value to people’s life and ipso facto, glorifies God. A hypocritical spirituality is a kind of fake spirituality that does not help anyone nor glorify God but only makes one parade himself or herself before men pretending to be holy but is not. From Monday to Wednesday this week, the liturgical readings of the gospel have been systematically arranged (despite interruptions of feast days) to chronicle the following 7 woes of the Scribes and Pharisees:
They were bitter enemies of the gospel and so are not leading the people to heaven.
They are great friends of the devil and so are busy taking people to hell.
They are selfishly wicked in their teachings especially about swearing.
They observed smaller duties like payment of tithes but neglected greater ones like love and justice.
They cared for the outside but not the inside of religion.
They pretended to be good (like whitewashed tombs) but were very rotten inside.
They pretended to honour their prophets but behaved like the children of murderers of prophets.
The Lord is more understanding about sins committed in human weakness than in hypocrisy which is a deliberate effort to deceive people and deceive even God himself. That is why Francis Bacon said that “A bad man is worse when he pretends to be a saint”. Jesus never condemned even immorality as much as he condemned hypocrisy.
In today’s 1st reading, St Paul recommends a kind of entrepreneurial spirituality that emphasizes hard work for everybody; husband, wife, children, including even priests. He says quite emphatically, “If anyone will not work, let him/ her not eat”. We must think of what to do in order to be resourceful. Wives should stop parading themselves as jobless housewives. Young graduates of both secondary and tertiary institutions should stop idling away their time waiting for white collar jobs but must find something doing no matter how menial. Even priests can find something doing to help alleviate their burdens on the people of God, not necessarily to amass wealth. We shall be better priests if we are soaked in charity but hypocritical ones if we just parade ourselves as holy when we are not.
We must learn to examine our heart condition always because the heart is the centre of holiness, not the mouth, hands or legs. We may use our mouths to shout the name of Jesus 20 times a day; raise our left hands to cast out demons 200 times a day; use our legs to attend religious gatherings and crusades 365 times a year, but as long as our hearts remain unholy, unloving and undisciplined, we are going nowhere other than the way of hypocrites. Let’s hold on to the traditions of faith and love handed on by the Saints who have gone before and stop all this madness we see today in the name of religion.