The scribes and the Pharisees wield enormous influence among the Jews, but Jesus does not use kid gloves in dealing with them. He severely condemns their failure to make people understand three important areas in a believer’s relationship with God, namely, judgment and mercy and fidelity.
God wants every believer to become son or daughter in Jesus, chosen and beloved, in whom God is well pleased. Jesus laments the haughty attitude of the religious leaders and their failure to show mercy on sinners. Jesus also deplores their inability to put faith in him, to accept his word, and to follow the kind of life that he lives.
Jesus condemns them as “blind guides” who are lost and unable to bring people out of darkness. They overemphasize the trifling details of the law and ignore the heart of the Covenant. They are preoccupied more with tithing even the cheapest of herbs than with approaching God with pure, sincere, and honest hearts.
In contrast, Jesus as the all-seeing God and enlightened guide, liberates people from the shackles of slavery and sin.
How can I make sure that I do not forget the essential areas of my faith?
Gospel • Mt 23:23-26
Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.”
SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2020,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.