Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What are hypocrites filled with

In today's gospel Mt 23:25 the hypocrites Jesus condemns are accused of being filled with 2 things arpages and akrasia.

The second,akrasia, is easier for us to grasp. It is literally lacking in control of oneself, or to act contrary to your own better judgement. If we are completely honest with ourself, most of the time we know in our hearts what we ought to do. Rare is the occasion when we find ourselves facing a problem where we don't know what the morally correct choice is. Most often it is this sin of akrasia, we know the right and for a variety of reasons, do the other.

The first one is more difficult. The Greek word refers to pillaging, a kind of ravenous greed that spoils. What distinguishes pillaging from plain theft it seems to me is the wanton, destructive nature of it. As I write this I am sitting looking out over Lake George in upstate New York. I am struck by the beauty of God's creation, and reminded of how we are called to be stewards of it. How often do we continue to cross the line between the proper use of resources as God intended and the sin in today's gospel? Here it is often difficult to know where the line is. Here also we can make simple changes in our daily living habits that remind us that the earth belongs to God and we are merely stewards.

The two sins in this gospel are different and yet there is a link, choice. How can we exhibit more self-control? How can make choices about the things we buy and use?