Hypocrisy: No way to lead
November 5, 2017
There was once an arrogant lion who swaggered through forest, lording his superiority over all the other creatures. Strutting along, he came across a bear. “WHO IS THE KING OF THE JUNGLE, BEAR?” “Why, of course, you are, mighty lion.” He went on until he found the tiger. “WHO IS THE KING OF THE JUNGLE, TIGER?” ‘Why, you are, great lion.” Eventually, the lion came upon the elephant. “WHO IS THE KING OF THE JUNGLE, ELEPHANT?” Instantly, the elephant grabbed the lion with his trunk, spun him around several times and slammed him to the ground. He then proceeded to step on him, grab him and dunk him in the water before flinging him up against a tree. Staggering to his feet, the lion gasped, “Look, just because you don’t know the answer, you don’t have to get so upset!”
In today’s Reading 1 and Gospel, God reveals His judgment on the religious leaders who arrogantly parade around like the lion in the story, “A great King am I, says the LORD of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations…If you do not listen...[if you do not] give glory to my name, says the LORD of hosts, I will send a curse upon you…You have turned aside from the way, and have caused many to falter by your instruction…says the LORD of hosts.”
Although it is uncertain, many scholars believe that Malachi prophesized after the Israelites returned from exile in Babylon. It’s hard to imagine that these religious leaders did not learn their lesson when they were exiled to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness to the Covenant: to worship Yahweh alone and to follow the Law. One would think that they would have diligently devoted their efforts to making sure those mistakes would never happen again. But, yet again, God had to send a prophet to not only remind them about keeping the covenant, but about their hypocrisy in teaching people to follow the Covenant yet not leading by example. These religious leaders did not practice what they preached.
We see the same hypocrisy in our world today. Many influential voices “have turned aside from the way, and have caused many to falter by [their] instruction.” Sadly, it’s not only leaders, religious and others, but also parents who do not live and teach their children properly in the faith.
Please pray for all religious leaders, parents, and all of us that we may be faithful in giving honor to God, following His ways and living lives that lead others to Jesus Christ.