Posted: 26 Aug 2013 06:30 AM PDT
Today’s Gospel Text: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. 26 You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Matt 23:23-26
Reflection: Some matters are more important than the others.
This does not mean that the important matters are solely so important that they make the less important matters defunct.
The Pharisees, on the other hand, were so notorious in the practice of the less important virtues, which may have been easy to practice and even observed by many that they failed in the practice of the more important virtue.
For this they face a very stringent rebuke by Jesus, who not only lay emphasis to the practicing of the lesser demands of the law but also laid a greater emphasis on the more important elements of the law.
Therefore according to Jesus, the more important matters are first and while practicing it the less important matter cannot be ignored.
The comparison that Jesus draws of such a negative and careless attitude towards the law of God is unparalleled: “You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” (vs. 24)
The danger of walking in the ways of the Pharisees exists even in our day and in ever newer ways.
The modern day Pharisees can be laying a great emphasis on the practice of the virtue of justice, mercy and faithfulness, which sometimes translates into modern day obedience to authorities, but these themselves may lack in the very practice of it.
The emphasis of Jesus is clear; what he expects of the Pharisees and all his followers is the practice of this virtue in their lives and not to fight or labor to establish a society of justice, mercy and faith based on human agenda.
And how is this justice, mercy and faithfulness lived?
The primary way in which one lives the value of justice is by giving the obeisance to God, as revealed by Jesus. Not to acknowledge God, as revealed by Jesus, as one’s Father is the greatest injustice, far greater than any oppression and marginalization of a fellow human being.
Like the Pharisees who were instrumental in crucifying Jesus we too could be unjustly crucifying Christ once again even though we claim to be followers of him.
Nor can we show mercy to others if we do not show (give) our brothers and sisters, in decay, the path of life through faith.
Prayer: Lord, teach me to be your instrument of justice, mercy and faith.
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