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Denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees

Gospel Reading: Mt 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’ Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? And you say, “If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’ You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.”

REFLECTION Woe to you,… Hypocrites
Jesus pronounces this invective against the scribes and Pharisees who hinder people from going to heaven. Instead of making them saints, these religious leaders are making people evil. They invent a lot of unnecessary things in the name of religion and require people to do them. They abuse their little knowledge and prestige. They take advantage of people’s ignorance.

Jesus calls these spiritual teachers hypocrites. They will be punished severely for misleading the people. They will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. That is the consequence of their pretentions.

It is true that we need teachers; it is dangerous to handle faith and Scriptures just by oneself or without a good reference. But if even the teachers do not know their own theology, anything can happen. Theology puts all things about faith and traditions into their proper places. It is a kind of check and balance. It prevents or minimizes misinterpretation or erroneous conclusion.

Do you know and live your faith enough to teach it by word and example?

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