5 So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
6 He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me;
7 In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.
8 You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
Once again, Jesus spoke the hard truth that the Pharisees needed to hear but maybe he was also speaking to our generation as well. . He told them directly that they were hypocrites and that they were the ones of whom Isaiah spoke in the quoted passage. It most certainly was a tense scene. What would he say to the people today who are acting the exact same way? Can you say one, tell the public that you believe that one thing, yet go actively against your beliefs and do the opposite? If you do, are you a hypocrite?
Setting aside the drama of the encounter, let’s look more clearly at the actual quote from Isaiah. It says four things:
These people honor me with their lips.
Their hearts are far from me.
They worship in vain.
They present their own human laws as if they were God’s.
What would the ideal transformation of these hypocritical errors look like? If the Pharisees were to completely change, what may Jesus say of them? If the people would change today what Jesus say about their conversion experience?
Is it any wonder that Jesus got so upset with what these people did and said? If Jesus came to establish a way of life and if people followed this way of life would they be doing this? Of course not. This is the real reason why Jesus was upset. He understood what would happen when people began to slide back into hypocrisy. Jesus was not a hypocrite, he just knew many people who were hypocrites. Jesus was not upset with the people as he was upset with the simple truth that hypocrisy is not necessary. You can live your life without it very easily. All you have to do is live the way that Jesus taught us.
Christianity is simple. You follow the teachings of Jesus and the Church. What could be more simple? Really, it becomes easy if you follow the rules. The problem is that some people do not follow rules, some people do not believe in God, and for some reason some people for the purpose of power and prestige would rather go through the motions of belief than actually follow the precepts of belief. These are the people who are hypocrites. You can clearly see these people even at Church. They come to Church and arrive in time for the Eucharist and leave right after. They come to Church for baptism, weddings, and funerals yet never attend in between. They may say they are Catholic and even attend Church, but they act as if they had heard of the teachings of Jesus Christ when dealing with their jobs, their positions in our society, or in their own personal lives. They are serving two masters. One that you see and one that you do not.
"No one can serve two masters," Jesus told us, "for he will hate the one and love the other" (Mt 6:24)
Let us get real and understand. We are living in times where we need our faith to meet the challenges of today, we need our people to support our faith, and most of all we all need to act not against each other but support each other. This simply can not happen if we act like hypocrites- if we say one thing and do another. Enough Said.