Many years ago comedian Billy Crystal had a running gag portraying Fernando, a quintessential Hollywood character. Crystal would come on talk shows and greet the host with an enthusiastic, “You look marvelous!”
When the host would ask how he was doing he’d say, “You know, it is better to look good than to feel good.” The joke of course was a lampoon of the image-conscious Hollywood celebrities for whom looking good was life’s overriding concern.
Jesus knows that if our outsides are not informed and illuminated by our insides, we are no better than the Pharisees for whom the externals were everything. That leads to hypocrisy, constant judgment of others and ourselves, and spiritual death. You can almost hear the Pharisees, the image-obsessed religious leaders of Jesus’ day, greeting one another in the synagogues, “You look marvelous!” Jesus had a challenge for them, and for us: “It is better to be good, than to look good.” And that starts on the inside.
Quote of the Week
Character is much easier kept than recovered.