Gospel: Lk 11:42-46
“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.“
Jesus criticizes the attitudes of the Pharisees for their scrupulous the observance of even the tiniest of regulations and forgetting what is truly essential – the justice and love of God. He reminds them that their attention is focused on seeking status than service. They expect people to look up to them and give them special honors because of their supposed higher level of religious observance. They expect to be given front seats in the synagogue and for people to greet them deferentially in the streets. People coming in contact with them are not aware that under the facade of piety inside they are really bearers of hypocrisy and greed. Religious authorities may find themselves guilty of the same sins. Pope Francis was clear about this temptation when he mentioned the “terrorism of gossip“ and the “pathology of power“ that afflict those who seek to enhance themselves above all else, and the “spiritual Alzheimer‘s“ that has made leaders of the Catholic church forget they are supposed to be joyful. But the clergy have no monopoly on this. Parents, too, can be guilty when they follow double standards, making one rule for themselves and another for their children… “Do as I say; don‘t do as I do.“ Pharisaism is alive and well in the Church and in our society but the first person I need to ask is whether I am guilty too, of, the same behavior.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2018