The Pharisees’ False Zeal (Mt 23:13-23)
O Jesus, enlighten my path and lead my steps.
Picture Jesus denouncing hypocrisy.
Jesus is preaching in the temple during Holy Week. There, he meets severe opposition and must denounce false religious practices (which only increases the crowd’s anger). Jesus had given Peter the keys to open the Kingdom. Jesus’ opponents use their keys to close the Kingdom.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees because you shut the kingdom of heaven to others. You yourselves do not enter and you do not allow others to enter.
You devour the fortunes of widows, and as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. You will receive a severe judgment.
You go by land and sea to make one convert. When this happens, you make him a child of Gehenna, twice as much as yourselves.
You pay tithes, but neglect the more important parts of the law, like judgment, mercy and faith. These things you should have done without neglecting the others.
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
- Jesus highlights four problems of the Pharisees.
- They teach about heaven but actually block the entrance.
- They use religion as a pretext to gain people’s money.
- They bring a convert into a way of life that doesn’t lead to heaven but to hell.
- They stress the small commandments, and forget about the important obligations.
- They are a fast-moving train on the wrong tracks to the wrong goals.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- O Jesus, bathe my life in your truth.
- Only you open heaven to me.
- O Lord, pour out your religious experiences. I will use them well.
- Guide me by the Church’s wisdom and my spiritual director.
- O Lord, I will obey all the commandments, big and small.
- Purify my inner motives.
- Enlighten my zeal so I lead everyone to you.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
+ I will study all the aspects of the Church’s Devout Life.
+ I will lead my friends to Jesus and to the Church.
Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.)
You do not enter and you do not allow others to enter.