First reading 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3,14-17

Stand firm and keep the traditions we have taught you

To turn, brothers, to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we shall all be gathered round him: please do not get excited too soon or alarmed by any prediction or rumour or any letter claiming to come from us, implying that the Day of the Lord has already arrived. Never let anyone deceive you in this way.
  Through the Good News that we brought God called you to this so that you should share the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who has given us his love and, through his grace, such inexhaustible comfort and such sure hope, comfort you and strengthen you in everything good that you do or say.

Responsorial Psalm 95(96):10-13

The Lord comes to rule the earth.
Proclaim to the nations: ‘God is king.’
  The world he made firm in its place;
  he will judge the peoples in fairness.
Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad,
  let the sea and all within it thunder praise,
let the land and all it bears rejoice,
  all the trees of the wood shout for joy
at the presence of the Lord for he comes,
  he comes to rule the earth.
With justice he will rule the world,
  he will judge the peoples with his truth.



Gospel Matthew 23:23-26

Clean the inside of the cup first, so that the outside may become clean

Jesus said: ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who pay your tithe of mint and dill and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the Law – justice, mercy, good faith! These you should have practised, without neglecting the others. You blind guides! Straining out gnats and swallowing camels!
  ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who clean the outside of cup and dish and leave the inside full of extortion and intemperance. Blind Pharisee! Clean the inside of cup and dish first so that the outside may become clean as well.’

What God wants from us

“Clean the inside of cup and dish first so that it and the outside are both clean”. Jesus had rather harsh words to the scribes and the Pharisees. He called them, “Hypocrites”, people who put on good appearances just for people to admire them, but their hearts were not right with God and others. They were so focussed on following rules and regulations that they had forgotten to put into practice what was most important, i.e. love for God and love for others.
Like the religious leaders of Jesus’ time, we often tend to give more importance to the outside than the inside. We are scrupulous in following laws to appear good, but our hearts are filled with judgement and contempt for others. Jesus does not want us to be hypocrites. He wants us to be the same inside and outside. Today, He calls us to go back to the heart of God and live a life of love, justice and mercy as He wants us to.
Reflection question:
How often do I tend to live for external appearances and forget the weightier matters of what my faith in Jesus is all about?
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.