Hypocrisy

Friends in Christ, today the Lord gives us this example of the Pharisee whose prayer is really nothing but showing off, there is no sincerity in it at all. Such hypocrisy doesn’t fool God.
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Those who lack any real character or virtue sometimes simulate what they lack – they practice hypocrisy. These persons however, are actually very weak; instead of working to be virtuous, they try to promote a good reputation by mere outward show, hoping to receive respect or praise that they do not deserve.
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All hypocrisy is at least a venial sin, but it can be mortal. Our Lord today strongly warns against pretending to have sincere faith, while really twisting the Gospel of Christ. The Pharisees that he describes, pretended to be men of prayer, but they were leading the people away from real religion.
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If a Catholic leader or bishop or priest puts himself forth as a teacher of the Faith, but actually leads people into error or false doctrine – this is where hypocrisy becomes mortal sin.
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Hypocrisy is also a mortal sin if a person is supposed to be a role model, like a parent or coach, but who justify their sinful behavior to those under their charge. This is the case in which Jesus says it would be better if they were drown in the sea with a millstone tied around their neck. Parents for example who do not go to Mass, and when their child asks why, they reply ‘It isn’t necessary.’
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Hypocrisy is also a grave sin if a false front is presented in order to manipulate or dominate others, or use them for some selfish goal.
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Hypocrisy can be a venial sin; for example if a person feigns goodness to avoid distressing loved ones, or to avoid disgrace for one’s sins of weakness.
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It is not hypocritical for a parent or a priest to teach the true moral life even though they often fail themselves, but the person should teach with humility, aware of his or her own sins.
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In the Holy Gospel, Jesus makes it clear, that rather than being fake or pretentious, God wants our humility. Our sincerity.
Everyone who exalts himself will ultimately be humbled when the truth is revealed at judgment, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted on judgment day.

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