A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 23:27-32
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.
28 Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous,
30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’
31 Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets;
32 now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”
Reflection: External and Internal Beauty
Good News: God sees what is inside our hearts.
The present generation spends a lot of money building monuments of past leaders. While it is a noble act to immortalize the memory of our ancestors, it is best to learn from them, not only for their heroism but also from their mistakes.
It is said that history repeats itself. We are quick to analyze the mistakes of past leaders not knowing that people of our generation, ourselves included, are repeating the same mistakes. Just like the Scribes and Pharisees in our reading, they thought that they are far better than their ancestors but because of their hypocrisy, they deserve the harsh rebuke from Jesus. Some people never learn.
On the other hand, the current culture is heavily tilted towards externalities. Every day, the media bombard us with powerful advertisement about new and bigger houses, cars, and more effective cosmetics to make us look gorgeous. It is no wonder a large part of the household budget is spent on things for showing off.
Not only that, people spend many minutes or hours fixing their physical appearances and looking at the mirror. Do they also spend the same number of hours fixing what is wrong in their thoughts, in their hearts and in their behavior? It is really interesting that Jesus is comparing us with tombs which are so immaculately white on the outside but dark and smelly inside.
Let us fix first our internal selves and the external will follow. Likewise, when we look at people, let us not just admire their external beauty. Let us also be wary of their motives and behavior. What is inside will always show itself in the outside. It is more important to be beautiful in the sight of God than in the eyes of people.