Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. 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.”
Jesus does understand our mistakes. However, if we wish to justify our mistakes, by multiplying the rules and regulations in our favour, there Jesus rebukes us and warns us. If Jesus is hard on the scribes and Pharisees, it’s simply because, they didn’t wish to acknowledge the mistakes and imposed the same to the ordinary people.
The Lord invites us to discern everything before God, by applying our intelligence, what is just, especially to prioritise the essentials of life. Very often our interpersonal relationship is conditioned by what the other person can bring to us or by our common or personal needs. This is why, conditioned by our expectations, we have a lot of separation in the family and also personal rifts.
It is not only our interpersonal relationship that is affected, but also our relationship with God. It seems to me that we love everything that God gives us (like peace) more than God Himself. That is why we live in our blindness, without knowing either God or His will, and as a result, of His name we do everything that God does not desire of us. We choose the alter and the offering, and ignore the very presence of God, which sanctifies everything.
Action of the day: Be simple et righteous.
«Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men»
Abbé Marc VAILLOT
Today, once again, the Gospel shows how the goodness of God, who watches over our happiness, is poured out. It tells us clearly what the sources are: truth, goodness, righteousness, justice, love... and all the virtues. It also warns us so as not to fall into the traps - excesses, lusts, deceptions, in a word, sins - that would prevent us from attaining such happiness.
Jesus uses His divine authority to show us clearly the absolute character of the good, which we must pursue, and the evil, which we must avoid at all costs. Hence, His lively and gentle exhortation to respect the magna charta of the Christian life: the Beatitudes, paths that give access to Happiness. In parallel, we find the threatening tone used in today's Gospel: the Curses of those destructive acts that must always be avoided. It is the same Sacred Heart, the same Love that dictates the Beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:1 ff) and the Curses.
It is very important to understand that one is as important as the other for those who want to be saved: "Blessed" are the poor; the hearts that thirst for justice; the merciful souls... "Woe to you"... when you scandalize others; when you teach but do not put it into practice; when you corrupt the sound doctrine; when you lead others astray from the right path...
Jesus adds firmly: the greater your responsibility before others, the stronger will be the curse that will fall upon you. Our Lord, in this passage, is addressing the notables: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! (Mt 23:13 ff).
Let us apply this divine teaching to our lives. Our good and our bad actions always have a double impact: one, which falls on ourselves, because each action improves or devastates us; the other, considering our situation as adults, parents, teachers, responsible in any aspect, each of our actions can have repercussions, good or bad, unsuspected: "life is not time merely passing by, life is about interactions" (Francis).
And we will have to give an account of it to the love of God!