Practicing What We Preach

For several days, the Gospel for daily mass has contained Jesus’ accusation against the Pharisees as hypocrites. They neglect the weightier things of the law, they preach but do not practice, they perform all their works to be seen and honored, they clean the outside of the cup, but inside are full of plunder and self-indulgence. “Blind fools,” he calls them and he instructs the crowds to not follow their example.

Along those same lines, a passage in Brennan Manning’s, Reflections for Ragamuffins, provides much fruit for self-examination. He writes:

“The Chrisitan commitment is not an abstraction. It is a concrete, visible, courageous, and formidable way of being in the world, forged by daily choices consistent with inner truth. A commitment that is not visible in humble service, suffering discipleship, and creative love is an illusion. Jesus Christ is impatient with illusions, and the world has no interest in abstraction. “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand” (Matt. 7:26). If we bypass these words of the Great Rabbi, the spiritual life will be no more than fantasy.”

We could all profitably spend some time at the end of each day asking: Have my actions this day reflected my inner truth? Has my Christian commitment been visible in my words and deeds? Or, in the words of the old bumper sticker: If I were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me?