As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
Beware indeed. Hypocrisy is a serious accusation. For Jesus’ society and for ours. Hypocrisy is the sign of corruption. It’s more than just grandstanding or showing off.
Jesus is pointing out the corruption at the heart of his society. That those who have the responsibility of caring for the most vulnerable are in fact exploiting them and profiting off of their misery.
One way to measure the health of a society is to watch closely how it cares for its most vulnerable members. How well do we do this?