Monday, August 26, 2013

Substance over Form

Gospel   Mt 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
You do not enter yourselves,
nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You traverse sea and land to make one convert,
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna
twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’
Blind fools, which is greater, the gold,
or the temple that made the gold sacred?
And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift,
or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
one who swears by the temple swears by it
and by him who dwells in it;
one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God
and by him who is seated on it.”

"One of the many things I learned from Accounting that is applicable to real life is Substance over Form."

As Christ's followers, we are expected to do good. But if our acts of goodness are solely based on this expectation, then we are missing the whole point of it. With that, we forget the real reason behind that goodness and that is to be like Jesus who overflows with kindness and compassion. Doing good just for show is meaningless and that is what makes us hypocrites.

Yesterday, a member of Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) shared God's message to her. She reminded the whole Couples for Christ (CFC) community of the "heart for service" and that answering the cry of the poor is not for commercialization but should be driven by the passion to reach out to the less fortunate. 

The Gospel today poses the question: "Which is of greater worth: the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?". It is like comparing the value of a gift and the value of the person offering the gift. It is also like comparing the value of an act and the reason behind that act. In the end, it is not the act but the heart that matters. That is what we call Substance over Form.