October 13th, 2022

The Gospel according to Luke (11:47-54)

The Lord said: “Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your fathers 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.” When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

Reflection: Boy did Jesus have it in for the Pharisees! But if we think about it, his problem was not with the Pharisees as much as it was with attitudes and practices relating to faith and relationship with God. There is a lot going on here. And as was the case on many occasions, Jesus clashes with those who insist on walking down a path that leads farther away from God. Thinking, believing that adherence to the law is the only way that led to salvation, although maybe well intended, made it very difficult to live and practice one’s faith. And worse for those responsible for leading others down that same dead end.

A word that describes what caused Jesus such concern is hypocrisy. This is a weakness, a flaw that can, at times, afflict us all. Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another or professing something but not applying or following our own statements. Simply put it is a lack of sincerity or authenticity. There is the heart of what troubles Jesus so much.

What is our reaction when we become aware of this weakness in our lives. Maybe it is revealed through prayer, examination, or reflection. It could happen when we listen to God’s word in Holy Scripture, a homily, podcast, or any other method the Holy Spirit chooses to use. Do we become angry, indignant, defensive? Or do we take the opportunity and think about how we can do better. Isn’t it amazing that God gave us so many gifts to help us hear His voice and discern His will. Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.

It is not what we say or do, it is what we say and do that matters. When we are invigorated with the love of Christ then we will do what is necessary to pick up our cross and follow Him. In that grace, with sincerity and authenticity we can follow and live the words in Micah 6:8, “You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do justice and love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Action of the Day: Self-examination can be a tricky thing. We can either be too hard or too soft on ourselves. Allow the Holy Spirit, in prayer or reflection, to reveal places where lack of sincerity or humility have caused damage. Ask God to allow the sacrifice of His Son to help restore that damage and transform it into a reflection of His love and mercy.

Audio Reflection:

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