Posted by: livingscripture | October 19, 2017

28th Thursday of Ordinary Time



October 19, 2017

28th Thursday of Ordinary Time



WORD of the DAY


  Woe to you! You build the memorials of the prophets whom your ancestors killed.   Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building.   Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!  Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.         (Luke 11: 47-52)

How shall I live this Word?

Luke’s Gospel today contains one of the harshest and severest pages of the New Testament that shakes us and makes us think.  It regards the words Jesus undoubtedly said in various contexts and locations and here placed in the home of a Pharisee.  Keeping in mind the phrases that precede this and are not cited, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees’ hypocrisy, which confuses the meticulous rigor of external observance with true faith and trusting reliance on God. More specifically, Jesus reproaches two forms of hypocrisy: only external observance to the detriment of the interior engagement of the heart; and the observance of secondary and peripheral precepts at the expense of the great commandment of love of God and others. It is not a matter of having the dish clean but of giving to the poor what it contains.

Jesus also reproaches the Pharisees for their vanity. In fact, it is because of vanity that they pay careful and meticulous attention to the exterior and completely neglect the interior: clean outside, but dirty inside!

Another rebuke is addressed to the doctors of the Law: they raised monuments to the prophets and for this felt that they were more righteous than their fathers, who instead had killed them. But here too it is all hypocrisy: at the time of Jesus, the scribes revered the prophets because they were now emptied of their moral authority and distant. If they had lived in the present time, they would have killed them. The proof is that they will also kill Jesus because he presented himself with the authority of the true prophet of God.

A last rebuke: cunning in the interpretation of Law and morality, which makes religious observance complicated, if not impossible, especially for the simple and the little ones, by burdening them with unbearable weights (Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter).

These harsh words of Jesus addressed to the Pharisees should lead us to a serious examination of conscience to see if even our heart harbors some pharisaic attitude so that we can root it out firmly.  St. Jerome had to admonish the Christians of his times as seen below. 

The Voice of St. Jerome

 Woe to us to whom the vices of the Pharisees have been handed down.




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