Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Reflection: Matthew 23:23-26

Tuesday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time — Matthew 23:23-26

Today the opening words of the Gospel are: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!” Once again Jesus does not mince any words with these supposed religious leaders. Jesus criticizes these pious men for tithing but also neglecting the essential aspects of the law: judgment, mercy and fidelity. He scathingly calls the scribes and Pharisees “blind guides” who “strain out the gnat and swallow the camel.” These words were a powerful and public denouncement of the scribes and Pharisees.

However, we may be able to identify with the scribes and Pharisees. It may be easier to live out the letter of the law of God than to delve deeper into what Jesus is calling us to. Jesus desires that we be wholehearted and loving in all our actions. Yes, we may automatically judge others. However, will we also be merciful and understanding with them? Are we faithful to what we profess? Or do we choose which parts of the law we will observe? And does our understanding of the law include compassion and love?

Today I invite you to take some time and ask yourself: how do I approach the law? Do I simply live the letter of the law? Or do I strive to live the law from a compassionate and loving stance? The letter of the law is cleaner and simpler. However, we are messy human beings and at times much more is needed than the letter of the law. The most important law is the law of love. This is the law Jesus exemplified throughout his life. Will we choose to follow in his footsteps?

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