Thought For Today is by Triona Doherty called 'Practise what you preach'
We have all heard the expression 'Do as I say, not as I do'. According to one online dictionary, it is 'an expression used to call out hypocrites, including "environmentalists" with private jets, politicians who send their children to private school while opposing measures to give other kids the same chance, or those who accuse others of racism while not hiring minorities'. We could all come up with examples of people who do not practise what they preach.
The accusation appears to have been made for the Scribes and the Pharisees that Jesus talks about in today's gospel. He criticises them for placing heavy burdens on people, while not lifting a finger to help them, and for making themselves look important in order to attract attention. If we are honest with ourselves, there are areas of our own lives where we value style over substance, where we wish to give a certain impression to others that does not reflect the truth of the matter. We like to look good, and for people to think highly of us.
There are also times when we do not live up to the expectations we set for others. We expect people to be honest and fair with us, yet we are not always honest in our dealings with others. We expect others to help us, but we might not always repay the favour. Today's gospel is a wake-up call. It tells us what Jesus expects of us. We must be humble and genuine, thinking of others rather than worrying about what people will think of us.