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Hard Sayings

If you are only noddingly familiar with Christian Scripture,  you may think it is all sweetness and light.  However, both the Old and New Testaments are full of hard sayings, including the Gospel.  Today, I heard this at Mass:

Jesus said,“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

It is quite easy to sit in the pew, hear this and smugly think,  "You tell 'em, Jesus!  Don't let those hypocrites get away with a thing!  I know a few people that should hear that message."  It is quite another thing to hear that Gospel message and think,  "I am filled with hypocrisy and evil-doing.  I may appear quite beautiful to others, but I am filled with 'dead man's bones'."

What are the 'dead man's bones' I have to deal with?  The same, dull, boring, run-of-the-mill sins most of us deal with.  (We humans aren't too exciting as a whole:  we are quite doltish and simple.)  We are selfish, thoughtless, self-centered, impatient and rude.  Okay, maybe you aren't, but I sure am.  I can put on my makeup, my fabulous shoes, a new sweater and a glittery bracelet - all the 'whitewash - but the dead man's bones are still there. 

In the book of Ezekiel, poor Ezekiel has a vision of a valley full of dry bones, and God commands him to prophesy.  His prophetic words are to declare:  "Hear the words of the Lord."  It is only then that the bones come to life.

I hope that one day Jesus will NOT have to say "woe to you" when we meet face-to-face.  I hope I can offer Him bones that are filled with life, not death.  I hope....

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