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Matthew 23:27-32

The Word of God

'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, "If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets." Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors.

Matthew 23:27-32
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • As we continue reading these invectives of Jesus against the scribes and the Pharisees, I take time to pray for all the leaders whom I perceive to deserve such harsh words because of their hypocrisy and inconsistencies. I pray especially for our religious leaders that their words may carry the authority of the integrity of their personal lives, and for the victims of their wrongdoing.
    • It is so easy to condemn the mistakes of the past without realising we are still repeating them. I pray for light and freedom as we deal with such endemic sins like racism; xenophobia; imperialism; and homophobia and for those who suffer because of them. I ask for the courage to face my prejudices and to be ready to commit myself to build a better world.
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    • Jesus continues to challenge the Pharisees who put on an external show of religious perfection down to the tiniest detail. Inside their hearts and minds are full of pride and hatred and contempt for their fellow-men.
    • We can all fall into the same trap and sometimes see ourselves or our behaviour on a higher level than others. Let us continue to bring to God, anything that comes to mind now in this time of prayer and remember the words of Pope Francis - “I am a sinner”. Let us trust in Gods loving mercy for us all.
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    • One of the phrases that seems to have captured our imagination is speaking truth to power. Even in our democratic times we need brave people who are ready to pay the price for that. I look at Jesus as he takes on the powerful men of his time, the political and religious leaders, and pray for those who are willing to risk speaking truth to power. I pray for those who abuse their power, and for their victims.
    • I pray that the eye of my heart be clear, so that I may be aware of the inconsistencies in my thoughts and in my actions. I ask for pardon for all my hypocrisy, and pray for those who suffer because of my weakness.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Once again Jesus challenges the scribes and Pharisees to think differently about how they live from day to day. He challenges them to look at what is going on in their inner selves, the part of themselves they hide from one another, and indeed, from themselves. They are living on the surface of life but it has no real meaning. They cannot see how their way of life has its impact on others.
    • How do I regard those with whom I disagree strongly? Do I personalise social and political differences? To what extent can I become pharisaical in condemning the Pharisees?
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    • Are my words and actions, like those of the Pharisees, driven by a preoccupation with truth and orthodoxy; or by justice, mercy and love?
    • How often do I close my eyes to those in need? How can I be of service to those less fortunate than myself?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Are my words and actions, like those of the Pharisees, driven by a preoccupation with truth and orthodoxy; or by justice, mercy and love?
    • How often do I close my eyes to those in need? How can I be of service to those less fortunate than myself?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • What a terrible thing to say! What was going on in Jesus’ mind? Consider how much it must have distressed him, to see the Pharisees look for attention and distract people from the God about whom they appeared to speak. Much as Jesus is loving, patient and kind, he has an energy and desire for people to wake up! Jesus, let me hear your call to life.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Once again Jesus challenges the scribes and Pharisees to think differently about how they live from day to day. He challenges them to look at what is going on in their inner selves, the part of themselves they hide from one another, and indeed, from themselves. They are living on the surface of life but it has no real meaning. They cannot see how their way of life has its impact on others.
    • Father, we too can live in a unrealistic way, doing our own thing and having no concern for how we treat those whose paths we cross. How often do we close our eyes to the needs of our neighbours, or to the plight of the homeless? Cause us to wake up, Lord, and to see how we can be of service to those less fortunate than ourselves.
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    • Sometimes I’m struck by the forced smiles on the faces of the ‘great and good’. These people are busy projecting an image which is far from the truth. But is the image which I project to others the real me?
    • When making decisions, we wonder ‘What would the neighbours say?’ But does it really matter? There is only One whose opinion really matters. God knows the truth. We must respect and love our neighbours without letting them distort our lives as true disciples.