Word of the day

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Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Reading of the day

From the First Letter of St Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians
1 Thes 2:9-13

You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery.
Working night and day in order not to burden any of you,
we proclaimed to you the Gospel of God.
You are witnesses, and so is God,
how devoutly and justly and blamelessly
we behaved toward you believers.
As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children,
exhorting and encouraging you and insisting
that you walk in a manner worthy of the God
who calls you into his Kingdom and glory.

And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly,
that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us,
you received it not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God,
which is now at work in you who believe.

Gospel of the day

From the Gospel according to Matthew
Mt 23:27-32

Jesus said,
"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.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,
but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You build the tombs of the prophets
and adorn the memorials of the righteous,
and you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors,
we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets' blood.'
Thus you bear witness against yourselves
that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets;
now fill up what your ancestors measured out!"

Words of the Holy Father

What is hypocrisy? When we say, “Be careful, that person is a hypocrite”, what are we trying to say? What is hypocrisy? It can be called the fear of the truth. Hypocrites are afraid of the truth. They prefer to pretend rather than be themselves. It is like applying makeup on your soul, like putting makeup on your behaviour, putting makeup on how to proceed: it is not the truth. “I am afraid of proceeding as I am and I put make up on my behaviour”. To pretend hinders the courage to openly speak the truth; and thus, the obligation to speak the truth at all times, everywhere and in spite of anything, can easily be escaped. Pretending leads to this: to half-truths. And half-truths are a sham because the truth is the truth or it is not the truth. But half-truths are a way of acting that is not true. We prefer, as I said, to pretend rather than to be ourselves, and this pretence hinders the courage to openly speak the truth. (…) The Gospels, too, report several situations in which Jesus strongly reproaches those who externally appear just, but who internally are filled with falsity and iniquity (cf. Mt 23:13-29). (…) Let us not be afraid to be truthful, to speak the truth, to hear the truth, to conform ourselves to the truth. In this way, we will be able to love. A hypocrite does not know how to love. To act other than truthfully means jeopardizing the unity of the Church, that unity for which the Lord himself prayed. (General audience 25 August 2021)