October 12, 2016

Gospel  LK 11:42-46
The Lord said:
“Woe to you Pharisees!
You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb,
but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God.
These you should have done, without overlooking the others.
Woe to you Pharisees!
You love the seat of honor in synagogues
and greetings in marketplaces.
Woe to you!
You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”
 
Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply,
“Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”
And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!
You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”
 
Reflection:
 
The Lord said:
“Woe to you Pharisees!
You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb,
but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God.”
Jesus had little tolerance for hypocrisy. He didn’t mince words with the Pharisees for putting on a show by obeying the most minor of religious rules while at the same time ignoring fairness, justice, and love of God.
In berating the Pharisees, Jesus had a real knack for getting his point across.
“Woe to you!
You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”
The Pharisees meticulously avoided coming into contact with anything that was unclean. In comparing them to “graves,” Jesus was implying that although they gave the outward impression of being godly, their hearts were full of corruption.
The scholars were the intellectual academics of their day. They spent their time interpreting the laws of Moses and establishing the thousands of petty rules that governed people’s lives.
Offended by Jesus’ chastising of the Pharisees, a scholar replied, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”
And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!
You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”
Throughout the centuries, those in power, like the Pharisees and scholars, have discounted the ability of the common man to recognize hypocrisy and elitism.
But, those with eyes to see and ears to hear know only too well the wisdom of Jesus words.
“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.” – –  Matthew 23: 2-3