First Letter to the Thessalonians
For you yourselves know, brothers, that our reception among you was not without
effect. Rather, after we had suffered and been insolently treated, as you know, in Philippi, we drew courage through our God to speak to you the gospel of God with much struggle. Our exhortation
was not from delusion or impure motives, nor did it work through deception. But as we were judged
worthy by God to be entrusted with the gospel, that is how we speak, not as trying to please human
beings,but rather God, who judges our hearts. Nor, indeed, did we ever appear with flattering
speech, as you know, or with a pretext for greed--God is witness-- nor did we seek praise from human
beings, either from you or from others, although we were able to impose our weight as apostles of
Christ. Rather, we were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children. With such
affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very
selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us.
For the leader. A psalm of David. I LORD, you have probed me, you know me:
you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. My travels and my rest you
mark; with all my ways you are familiar. Even before a word is on my tongue, LORD, you know it all.
Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me. Such knowledge is beyond me, far too
lofty for me to reach.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill
and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity.
(But) these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the
gnat and swallow the camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the
outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee,
cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.
Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church
Commentary on the 1st letter of Saint John, VI, 3 ; SC 75 (copyright Augustinian heritage
"Cleanse first the inside "
«Little children, this is how we know we are of the
truth, when we love in action and truth, not only in words and speech, and assure our heart in his
presence» (1Jn 3,18-19). What does «in his presence» mean? Where he himself sees. Hence, the Lord
himself says in the gospel, «Beware of practicing your righteousness in the presence of men, in
order to be seen by them; otlierwise you will not have a reward with your Father who is in heaven»
(Mt 6,1)... You are before God. Question your heart: see what you have done and what you have been
yearning for there—your salvation or the windy praise of men. Look within, for a person cannot judge
one whom he cannot see. If we are assuring our heart, let us assure it in his presence. «Because if
our heart thinks badly»—that is, if it accuses us within, because we aren't acting with the spirit
with which we should be acting —«God is greater than our heart, and he knows all things» (v.20). You
hide your heart from man: hide it from God if you can. How will you hide it from him to whom it was
said by a certain sinner in fear and confession: «Where shall 1 go from your spirit, and where shed!
I flee from your face?»... For where does God not exist? «If,» he said, «/ go up to heaven, you are
there; if I go down to hell, you are present» (Ps 139,7-8). Where will you go? Where will you
flee? Do you want to hear some advice? If you want to flee from him, flee to him. Flee to him by
confessing, not from him by hiding, for you cannot hide, but you can confess. Tell him. «You are my
refuge» (Ps 32,7), and let there be nursed in you the love that alone leads to