Fr. Sanctus Mario
Inspiration and Bible Reflections

When we become Whitewashed Tombs .Wednesday 21st Week


Breakfast With The Word Wednesday 21st Week Ordinary Time of the Year B



Matthew 23:27-32 



In 2019, a viral video of a woman who was used by ten or more different pastors to stage-manage miracles went viral on the internet. 


The woman had a deformed arm, which she claimed was from birth. She can twist her arms in a deformed manner and return them to their original position. 


Many self-acclaimed men of God now swooped on this opportunity to use her and stage miracles. This deceitful act continued for a long time and until well-meaning Nigerians swooped into action and dug out other viral videos of her being used by different pastors to perform miracles. After interrogation and some investigations, the truth was let out of the bag.


The ultimate aim was that when people see this miracle, they will troop in their numbers to these churches. 


This is just like what Jesus said to the Pharisees in today’s gospel. Jesus says “in the same way you appear to people from the outside like good honest men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness”. So, with the above woman, what they present to the public is different from their selfish intention. 


Therefore, whenever what we present to the public is not truly who we are, we are like whitewashed tombs.


Today’s gospel continues the seven woes of Jesus against the Pharisees. He grieves over their way of life and calls them white-washed tombs. The reason is because what they show to the public is not who they are. 


Jesus says to them “Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of corruption”. 


Therefore, when we try to appear good outside but the inside is full of corruption, immorality, hatred, wickedness, envy, jealousy, evil etc we are like whitewashed tombs.


When we pretend to be friends with someone but inside our hearts we are not, then we are like whitewashed tombs. When we use smiles and gifts to deceive someone into thinking that we love him or her, we are whitewash tombs.


At that time when someone will pretend to be praying in the chapel but deeply in his heart, he knows he went there to steal or for some other intentions very far from what he or she is doing, the person is a white painted sepulchre. 



Whitewashed tombs show you another side of them that is good to mislead you but deep in their hearts, they are not what they pretend to be. They have another intention they hide.  


Read More


Living A Straightforward Life. Feast of Saint Bartholomew


The Life of A Hypocrite. Monday 21st Week Ordinary Time


Choose to Remain With Jesus. 21st Sunday Ordinary Time of the Year


Whoever humbles Himself Shall be Made Great. Saturday 20th Week



Reasons We Must Love our Neighbour. Friday 20th Week Ordinary Time



Prepare for the Eternal Banquet. Thursday 20th Week Ordinary Time


The Reward that comes from God.



 The Tradition.



 According to some historians, on every 15th of the month of Adair, before the Passover, the Jews normally mark the spots where graves were situated by whitewashing or painting them. This will prevent anyone from accidentally coming in contact with the graves, which might lead to religious defilement.



The reason is that the Jews consider anything or anyone touching the dead as unclean (Numbers 19:16, Ezekiel 39:15). So, by whitewashing the sepulchres, they will appear beautiful and distinctly clean. 




So what Jesus is saying today is that despite how beautiful these whitewashed tombs seem to appear, within them are still contained the bones and decaying bodies of the dead.



Therefore, like a whitewashed tomb, The Pharisees are good only in outward appearance. 


They appear holy, prayerful, good and fervent keepers of the laws but just like the corrupting bodies in the grave, they are spiritually and morally dead. 


They like praying in open spaces so that people would see them. Yet, their hearts are full of pride, evil, and selfish desires. Therefore, the outside appears to be clean but the inside is dead.



 When We Become White Painted.



 In a sense, whenever the reason or the intention of doing what we are doing is different from what we show to the public, to our friends, followers and those who trust us, we become whitewashed tombs.



2.Whenever we appear clean on the outside but the inside is very dirty when we show people that we are prayer warriors, mighty prophets, speaking in tongues ministers, holy men etc but when you come to the inside, our life is very dirty, we enjoy sin more that we enjoy the presence of God then we are whitewashed tombs.



3. Whenever we live a life of pretence when we know that this is not truly who we are. Also, whenever we come in the presence of our friends and show them our whitening teeth, laugh with them, smile, eat and crack jokes, sometimes pose as their best adviser and guide while within our hearts, we are planning evil against the person, then we are whitewashed tombs. 



4.Whenever we see evil or moral decay within us, in our families and around us and cover it also counts. In fact, whenever we see the truth and also try to cover it, allowing evil to rear its head, then we are also like the pharisees in our actions.



5.Whenever any government showcases only structures but has a selfish intention behind them, they become white painted tombs.



6. Whenever we tell lies and pour sweet words to entertain our hearers. We tell them the major works we have done for the state or country. Yet, within our hearts, we know they are all lies. When we do this, then we are pharisaic in our actions. Many people today who see themselves as leaders fall into this category. Many of those who are leading us are whitewash tombs.




 Say No to Self Righteousness .



While building the sepulchres of the dead and decorating their tombs, the Pharisees would be claiming that they would never have joined in shedding the blood of the prophets if they had lived in the time of the prophets. 



This is why Jesus criticised them today when He says 

Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who build the sepulchres of the prophets. You decorate the tombs of holy men. Then you say “We would never have joined in shedding the blood of the prophets, had we lived in our fathers’ day.” So! Your evidence tells against you! You are the sons of those who murdered the prophets! Very well then, finish off the work that your fathers began



Therefore, Jesus is criticising them for appearing self-righteous while they do the worst. 

The Pharisees said that they would never have joined in shedding the blood of the prophets. Yet, they are also among those who were planning on how to get hold of Jesus and kill Him.



In a sense, when we criticise what others have done, and see ourselves as better, but yet do the worse, we are also like the Pharisees. 



When we see ourselves as the holiest while others are sinners, yet we have hidden skeletons in the cupboard, then we are whitewashed tombs.



Also, when we easily condemn others and forgetting we can also make the same mistake, we become like the Pharisees. Therefore, let us always say no to self-righteousness.





 Jesus’ Reaction.



 Jesus’ reaction to the Pharisaical attitude was simply “Alas” “Woe” “Azigba” etc. This shows that Jesus is not happy with this kind of life. The exclamation “alas” or “woe” shows a sign of regrets over evil.


It is a sign of serious sadness and grief over a situation. When we live this kind of life, what we bring into our lives are the wrath and anger of God. Let us not forget that God looks into the heart. 



Despite how the Pharisees hid their lives, they only received applause from the people but condemnation from God. 

We can deceive anyone but not God. We can never deceive God. He sees everything that we do. He sees our hearts and the intention we are doing what we ar doing.


Sincerely, what God wants from us is to work for from the heart. His interest is those who will sincerely worship Him in spirit and truth. Any appearance or play acting we put is only to deceive people and not God. He knows appearance can be deceitful. At last, He shall still reward our efforts. God rewards our sincerity, our motive, and our intentions of doing what we are doing.

Let us then be careful of whatever we are doing. God is watching you (Chukwu na ele gi).



May God have mercy on us dearest, and give us the grace to live a sincere life. May He continue to bless and protect you. Amen.


  1. Bibiana Uche Unachukwu says

    Amen Amen Amen. Fr God bless you Today and always for constantly watering the children of God you will surely be watered by the king of kings. Do have a great day today.

    1. Sanctus Mario says


      1. Okwuchi Juliet says

        Amen. May God grant me the Grace to live a true holy life. 🙏

  2. Bibiana Uche Unachukwu says

    God promises are coming to pass. Let’s worship Him forever


      May God grant us his grace to live a life worthy of him, devoid of deceit and insincerity… Amen
      More of God’s grace to you Father.

  3. Rosemary says

    Remain blessed Fr

  4. Jared Ogare says

    Nothing is hidden in your sight O Lord,help us to be open before you

  5. Jared Ogare says

    Lord help us to have inward transformation so as to be worthy in your sight,Amen

  6. Chisom Egwudike says


  7. Chioma Frances Egwuogu says


  8. Ekwem Emmanuela says


  9. Nonye Maduka says


  10. Ifeoma Ugwueze says


    Lord, I need your grace to live a sincere life in Jesus name, Amen 🙏🙏

  11. Onuora Judith says


  12. Rosemary Umeze says

    Amen! My Lord and my God! Thank you Father Mario

  13. Dr Nicholas Onyia A. says

    Amen and amen🙏🏼

  14. Chinyere Ezemelue says

    Sincerity and truth are what you require (Psalms 51 vs 6a). Lord, make me understand that hypocrisy is living outside of my Christian beliefs, may my life give power to the words you speak through me. Amen

  15. Obika Chidimma says

    Amen, thanks Fr.

  16. Sr. Catherine Nzekwe says

    Thank you Fr for these wonderful piece

  17. Carmela U. Ekwem says

    Amen! & Amen! Thanks & God bless you too Fr

  18. Omeke Kelechukwu Philomena says

    Thank you Fr

  19. Eririogu Fidelia says

    Amen.Thanks father

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