Exodus 19:16‐21:21; Matthew 23:13‐39; Psalm 28:1‐9; Proverbs 7:1‐5
Each time we attend a Eucharist service we hear the words, “. . . and from him no secrets are hid.” God sees our hearts regardless of anything that distinguishes us among human beings. In today’s reading from Matthew, Jesus has just stated that whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Then He sharply rebukes the Pharisees. Perhaps the worst that He accuses them of being is whitewashed tombs; “which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead man’s bones and all uncleanness.” He finishes by saying they appear righteous when they are full of hypocrisy. The Psalmist in today’s reading warns of those who speak peace with their neighbors while harboring evil in their hearts.
This is not a subtle message. This message for us is clear, unmistakable, and unambiguous. God’s commandments detailed in the Exodus reading today are not requests. Jesus took these commandments and added the necessity of purity of thought and motive. And if we are giving appearances of being one thing while actually being another, there is no hiding it from our Lord. There is no question about whether we are self-serving, prideful creatures. We were born into that. The question is what are we going to do to be led by the Spirit rather than by our personal desires? What lies ahead of us in the sanctification process? Will we face God each day as whitewashed tombs or humble, filled with the Spirit of life?