Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
I will examine my conscience to see if I am using any of my gifts and talents to glorify or serve only myself. If so, I'll strive to put these same gifts at the service of God.
Lord, thank you for your Gospel and for all the
truth it teaches me. Thank you for warning me of attitudes and dispositions that could become
temptations for me. I love you for your goodness and mercy, and I entrust myself into your loving
Lord, help me to serve you sincerely, in truth and
1. "This people honors me only with lip service, while their hearts are far
Jesus calls his disciples to authenticity. Too often so-called disciples give the
impression of following him, while at the same time accepting sensual loves and lusts in their
heart. Although the Pharisees display the outward trappings of holiness, the way they treat Jesus
and others betrays their true character. Jesus would call them "whitewashed tombs" (Matthew 15:27):
clean and bright on the outside, but full of dead men's bones within. Self-righteousness would be
their downfall. Such dispositions may lend the proud man certain short-term security, but it will
always be illusory since it is not rooted in the truth. Is there any way in which I also pay
tribute to God with my lips but say something else in my heart, or behave contrariwise in my
2. "The worship they offer me is worthless:"
True worship begins with
humility, when the soul recognizes that it possesses no good in and of itself, but that all of its
goodness comes from God. The Pharisees offered no real worship to God since, in effect, they
worshipped only themselves by relying more on their talents and goodness than on the goodness that
comes from God. It is not insignificant that when Jesus describes a Pharisee's prayer in the parable
of the Pharisee and the tax collector, he says The Pharisee prayed this prayer to himself (Luke
18:11). How can I make sure that my prayer is truly devoted, meaning that I am addressing
Our Lord with the words of my heart?
3. "You make God's word null and
The Pharisees used the talents and gifts God had given them not for God's glory, but
for their own personal gain, whether that gain consisted of praise and admiration or personal
comfort and ease. True worship of God, truly placing God above all else, involves using the things
God created as means to reaching him. As number 226 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states,
"It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One, leads us to use everything
that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to him, and to detach ourselves from it insofar
as it turns us away from him:
My Lord and my God, take from me
everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and my God, give me everything
that brings me closer to you.
My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to
give my all to you."
Conversation with Christ:
Lord, thank you for my life and
all the good things you have
given me. Help me to realize that you have created
and that all I have is from you. May I use all I have to serve
others and as a means to come closer to you, the source of all good.
I will examine my conscience to see if I am using any of my
gifts and talents to glorify or serve only myself. If so, I'll strive to put these same gifts at the
service of God.