There is a castle that stands on an elevation overlooking beautiful woodlands and a lake. It dominates the surrounding countryside.
Though it hasn’t been lived in for the best part of a hundred years, it still seems to be in good shape – from the outside at least.
Not a stone appears to be missing.
Its stone walls, turrets, towers, and buttresses are all intact and give it an impressive appearance.
But just step inside the castle, and you will see a completely different picture.
Inside, it is a complete shambles.
There are piles of fallen masonry and plaster everywhere. The main roof is missing, and so are most of the ceilings and floors.
Of course, there is not a stick of furniture to be found.
The big fireplace is empty.
The building is little more than a shell.
This Sunday’s First Reading from the prophet Malachi is strident. He begins,
“And now, priests, this warning is for you”. And he continues, “ But you, you have strayed from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your teaching.”
The quote causes me to ask,
“Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi.”(Mt 23: 5 – 7).