Today’s readings focus on the making of “a new heart and a new spirit.” They challenge us to view ourselves in a humble and honest way while recognizing our sinfulness. In the psalm, God tells us what He wants is not our sacrifices and burnt offerings, but our pureness and gratitude. For it is useless to cover our sins with offerings when we do not “wash ourselves clean.”
When humans turn against God while hypocritically repeating God’s words, God questions: “Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth?” In the Gospel, Jesus also criticizes the Scribes and the Pharisees for similar hypocrisy. He asks us to do and observe what the Scribes and the Pharisees tell us, but to not follow their example for “they preach but they do not practice.” This is a tendency that any of us can fall into in our daily lives: not practicing the words that we preach.
Today’s readings remind us of the danger of humans’ hubris and to constantly be aware of self-renewal, preparing a “new heart and a new spirit.”
Guard your Church, we pray, O Lord, in your unceasing mercy, and, since without you mortal humanity is sure to fall, and directed to all that brings salvation.