In the gospel of Matthew there are eight “Woes” and one other accusation that does not start with woe. We have three today, tomorrow is a feast day for the apostle St. Bartholomew so we will miss the two in the middle, and then on Wednesday we will read the last three woes. Words like hypocrite attract my attention because they are not used very often in today’s culture. To be careful to speak to the original intent of the word, I grab my dictionary to read the definition. Often, I find some interesting information that is quite surprising.
A hypocrite is a person who pretends to have virtues, morals, or religious beliefs. Certain phrases come to mind when I think about this definition. For example, they will know we are Christians by our love. If we really live the Gospel, people will recognize our faith by our deeds. Actions speak louder than words. I would rather see a sermon than hear one. You get the point. The most difficult aspect of this is that we must make a judgement. For most of us our judgements are based on what we have been taught. Are we sure our morals and virtues and religious beliefs are true and based on the teachings of the Church? Or did they come from Grandma embellishing them to make us sit still in church?
One more point caught my eye. Sometimes there is section in the dictionary that explains where the word comes from and what its original meaning was. In the book where I looked up this world the old definition is that a hypocrite is an actor. And actors during that period wore masks so that the audience could not see their facial expressions. Seems appropriate. People may hide their feelings and emotions, but it is still their deeds that define them as Christian and Catholic.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen