September 2nd 2018
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Caught in the externals
If the readings of last weekend were about motivation- this weekend develops it further. What is on the inside? When nobody is watching, where do we operate from as a people? We are all used to the idea of people giving a good impression and are probably suspicious of anyone acting that way. There is no end of CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) Cameras around. From schools, shops, streets, Garda cars, emergency vehicles, workplaces, Various groups and reporters use the hidden camera to their own purposes in investigations,
They tell of one motorist driving along under the limit, who noticed a flash of a camera. Curious they stopped and turned around and approached again (definitely legal speed this time)- the Camera flashed again. It flashed a third time as he crawled by with his cheesiest grin on. A few days later he got 3 Summons for …. not wearing a seat belt while driving.. It’s only a joke but sometimes we can be so obsessed in one direction, and forget the whole portrait of human behaviour is in question. We are in our time perhaps being turned outside-in and inside-out.
You suspect that if the cameras were trained on the Pharisees of the Gospel, their outward behaviour would be just right. The philosophy of CCTV is that if you put people on camera they have to behave, it motivates people to act right. But “act” is the word. Even at family functions, when the camera switches on, people stiffen that back, pull in that chest and basically look wooden and unnatural.
We all know that outward public behaviour doesn’t necessarily reflect inward character. We all act to role. When the cameras aren’t rolling or there at all, we’re more likely to drop the act and be ourselves. It’s only natural. What we “do” matters, but where that “doing” comes from matters more.
Question: What’s our motivation? What’s on the inside, where no CCTV can capture? What is most important? The outside or the inside? Which defines us more – our outside behavior or our inside motivation?
Or is how you look, how you come across, how you perform – is that what makes or breaks you? It shouldn’t be you know. Law without the heart is hypocritical but the heart without law is license. Our religious behaviour must express this centre of ourselves.
“For it is from within… that evil intentions emerge..” (Gospel)