Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Reflection: Matthew 23:23-26

Tuesday of the Twenty-First 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.   And even though the Pharisees tithed and kept the law as they were required to do, Jesus soundly criticizes these pious men for neglecting the essential and important 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 are a powerful and public denouncement of the scribes and Pharisees.

However, we may be able to identify with the scribes and Pharisees.  It often is easier to live out the letter of the law of God rather than to delve deeper into the call we receive from Jesus.  Jesus desires that we be wholehearted and loving in all our actions.  Yes, we may automatically judge others; however, will we choose to be merciful and understanding with them?  Are we faithful to what we profess?  Or do we choose which part of the law we will observe?  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.  Today will we choose to follow in his footsteps?

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