Posted by: frburke23 | August 27, 2013

Thought for Wednesday, 21st Week in Ordinary Time (St. Augustine)

Jesus said,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside,
but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,
but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You build the tombs of the prophets
and adorn the memorials of the righteous,
and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors,
we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’
Thus you bear witness against yourselves
that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets;
now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”


I received a wonderful comment from one of the readers from yesterday’s thought.  She said that she thinks it is important for people to care for their lawns and to keep their houses looking nice.  She also finds that working in the yard is a time of prayerful reflection for her.

I wholeheartedly agree with her statements.  I think people should take pride in maintaining their home and yard, AND we should spend even more time developing our relationship with Jesus and others.  It is a “both/and” situation rather than “either/or”.  Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that they should pay their tithes AND work for justice and mercy.  We should not neglect one because we are focused on the other.

Today, Jesus continues to call them hypocrites for appearing righteous on the outside, but inside they are “filled with hypocrisy and evildoing”.  These are challenging words for us as well today.  There are times when we want everyone to think that we are holy and righteous.  We go to church on Sunday so that everyone sees us, we kneel in a perfect posture of prayer, and do all the “right things” good Catholics should do. 

But inside – what is going on in my soul? 

Is my heart pure? 

Do I work on my spiritual life by going to confession, reading a good spiritual book, talking about spiritual things, etc.?

Going to church and praying are so important.  I am not saying that we should not do these things.  We should go to church every Sunday and pray AND develop our relationship with the Lord throughout the week.

I have challenged our seminarians to grow in holiness during this upcoming school year.  And I’m not going to ask them to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.  So this is what we are committed to doing this year and hopefully develop habits for the rest of our lives:

1) Daily Holy Hour.  Just spend quiet time with the Lord, speaking to Him and listening to Him.  This will change your life!

2) Liturgy of the Hours – This is the prayer of the Church and something many lay people pray as well.

3) Exercise – at least 45 minutes – 3 times per week.  Sound body, mind and soul.

4) Confession – at least once per month (more regular if necessary). 

5) Scripture reading – read a little Scripture each day during your Holy Hour or before you go to bed.   Maybe start with the readings of the day for Mass.

6) Spiritual reading – read another spiritual book (life of a saint, spiritual classic) as part of your holy hour or later each day (minimum 5-10 minutes).  

7) Daily Mass  

8) Fasting – fast from meat each Friday throughout the year.  When you feel the hunger pains, pray for one another and pray for holy vocations (priesthood, religious life, marriage, consecrated single life).

9) Rosary – pray the rosary daily.  If you have a difficult time praying the rosary alone, pray with someone else.

10) Develop relationships – spend some quality time with at least one person that week.

This may seem like a lot, but I have found this to be the source of joy in my life.  This helps us to keep our body and soul focused on the Lord.  The inside of our soul is cared for and in turn hopefully our exterior radiates the love of Jesus to the world.

God bless,

Fr. Burke



  1. Amen – I would only be cautious to not make the doing all these things (law) into a as a means to righteousness. (Galatians 3, Romans 8)

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Wow!! I’m speechless….

    All Glory and Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

    Fr. Burke….Thanks Much for your time, spiritual guidance, and all you do for others. Words are not hear to express the gratitude felt within. Just know you do much…Baseball son is journaling about something that stick out to him in your post…and I am seeing a bit of a change….The hard part is at times for me to be the example setter…..practice what I preach.

    Spiritual Habit list…Thanks for your leadership….This sheep wants to follow.

    Been Blessed:)

  3. Keep it up Father!

    God Bless Chris Earl

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