Have you striven lately?
Our Lord’s warning is not just to the Scribes and the Pharisees back then or even just to religious scholars or high-profile religious people today. To be sure, more is required of those who have studied more or who exalt themselves more, but none of us dare say that these warnings say nothing about us.
As we hear this Gospel (or any Gospel) we should always examine ourselves carefully and seriously so we might answer the call to greater perfection and love the Gospel contains.
Are we hypocrites? Do we do the same things we tell other people not to do? None of us are perfect, of course, but have we stopped striving to do better? Have we built around us a lockbox of rationalizations that keeps us from living out the truth and love of Christ more fully? Are we better at good excuses than good works and manifestations of faith? Do we encourage others to heroic holiness or do we subtly encourage them to be ordinary (and to rot with the rest of us)?
We must not be like the scribes and the Pharisees. We must be real. We must strive. We must help. We must be holy through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.