Posted: 25 Aug 2013 06:30 AM PDT
Today’s Gospel Text: “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘If any one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; 21 and he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it; 22 and he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it. Matt 23:13-22
Reflection: If you thought that people don’t allow the other to prosper or progress or achieve the essential things of life purely out of jealousy then it is not true.
One could even be doing so out of ignorance and this ignorance has no excuse because it is steeped in sin and to remain in the state of sin is not essentially steeped in ignorance. (cfr. Rom. 1:19-23)
In other words there is a reason behind this ignorance or this ignorance is a byproduct of a deeper malaise which is broadly classified as sin or a deliberate attempt at suppressing the truth of God, who alone can bring us out of dark situation.
What is that sin that leads one to even remain ignorant and jeopardizes the salvation of many around them?
It is the sin of allowing oneself to be steeped in all that is unclean, even the pleasures and daily routine of life, and leaving the search of the highest truth out of ones purview.
Some are in the truth and yet far from it, it is like in a ocean of water and yet not able to find the pure water to quench their thirst.
The Pharisees by virtue of their special call to devote themselves to the word had the means and the knowledge to respond to God’s constant call.
They had the ocean of knowledge about God and his ways and yet failed to render him the glory and praise because in all this they sought their own glory and the pleasure of wanting the approval of men.
How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? John 5:44
Not that all Pharisees came under this category but many of them did on account of their pride and elitism and thus became an obstacle for others to enter the kingdom and hence Jesus had to say:
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in. (vs. 13)
Hence if there is a sin that we need to avoid then it is that of the Pharisees.
Prayer: Lord, teach me to humbly seek you and your ways and to please you in all situations and not to seek the approval of men. (cfr. Gal. 1:10)
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