A curse is on you, Pharisees! To the temple you give a tenth of all, including mint and rue and other herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. These ought to be practiced, without neglecting the other obligations. A curse is on you, Pharisees, for you love the best seats in the synagogues and to be greeted in the marketplace. A curse is on you, for you are like tombstones of the dead which can hardly be seen; people don’t notice them, and make themselves unclean by stepping on them.”
Then a teacher of the law spoke up and said, “Master, when you speak like this, you insult us, too.” And Jesus answered, “A curse is on you also, teachers of the law. For you prepare unbearable burdens and load them on the people, while you yourselves do not move a finger to help them.
Cursing seems to be a heavy thing to do to others. We instinctively feel that people who curse go overboard. Yet here we are with Jesus cursing the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. The air is thick with emotions. Jesus openly ridicules the religious leaders of His time. At first glance, it seemed that Jesus was too harsh with these two groups. Yet a closer reading reveals where His stance came from. It was because the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had calcified in their belief that they were the keepers of righteousness. They have to be shaken from their false sense of the self so that they would see their folly.
This is called tough love. It is not something easy. We would rather preserve peace by sweeping the hurtful truth and go on as if everything is normal. But Jesus would not. He could not bear the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law to remain where they were. If He was to be the bad guy, so be it. This is the price one pays sometimes if one loves passionately.
CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.
8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (02) 921-3984 • Fax: (02) 921-6205, 927-7429
Bookstore: (02) 924-6835
Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org