St. Matthew tells it like it is
You go, Matthew.
That's one saint who sometimes went on a rip.
The hypocrisy Matthew talked about is still alive today. Shockingly, some can even be found in pulpits. Yes. Our parish is fortunate that the poor matter, and not just the people who can make the big contributions.
For, it's not the tithe or the gold or the check that's brought to the altar that is holy. Those things are not to be worshipped. It is God, who inhabits the sanctuary, who is holy. He will sanctify us and our offerings.
Meanwhile, we strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel. Yes, our priorities are skewed.
Hypocrisy is alive and well these 2,000 years later. I see it on the dais at city council meetings - the council member who delights in telling the audience how he is there for "the people," but treats people badly and makes it nearly impossible for them to contact him with their cares and concerns.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Here's today's reading from the Gospel of Matthew:
Matt. 23:13-26 (NRSV)
13 'But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them 15Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves 16'Woe to you, blind guides, who say, "Whoever swears by the sanctuary is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by the oath."
17You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that has made the gold sacred? 18And you say, "Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gift that is on the altar is bound by the oath." 19How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
20So whoever swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; 21and whoever swears by the sanctuary, swears by it and by the one who dwells in it; 22and whoever swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by the one who is seated upon it.
23'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!
25'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.
The Word of the Lord.