Further Woes to the Pharisees and Scribes
Reflection on the Gospel of the Thursday In The Twenty-Eight Week In Ordinary Time
Jesus is continuing with the indictment of the Pharisees and Scribes. He is stating the privilege they had of knowing God, about God and the opportunity of coming close to him (as a result). They have been blessed with being chosen and set apart (the scribes were doing the Levitical role of Religious Instructors), and have the grace to be educated in the Law and understanding its depths, so they could wait upon God, with understanding and expectancy. Yet they used this their position, to be technically correct, i.e. to do things as written in the Law and the rules, but not seek out the deeper meaning and bind themselves in a personal relationship with God. They exalted themselves in the eyes of humans, demanding their respect and obedience, but what they were passing on to the people were instructions of things to do…, but not helping them to draw into a personal relationship with God. The point of everything that God did in the Old Testament, was to draw humanity into a personal relationship with Himself. Against this background, when we say the Our Father, We see Jesus introducing God as a personal God, someone close at hand and not distant. And when one ventures to say Our Father and direct these words at Yahweh, there is meaning, identity and purpose.
To deny such a relationship to those under their influence, the Pharisees and the Scribes were like being the Dead Sea, though receiving grace (the inflow of the Jordan), but there was is no lifegiving outflow… therefore dead. And this is what Jesus bringing to the awareness of the Pharisees and Scribes. Get into a personal relationship with God, become alive, and share this lifegiving relationship with others, so that they may also live.
Let us pray and ask the Holy Spirit for his help. Come Lord Holy Spirit fill us with your lifegiving Presence. Make us students, observant and mindful, help us grow into the life-giving vine that is Jesus. Bring us before the Father, bless us that we may in our turn bless others with our experience of the Father, Jesus his Son and Your companionship, here and now. Amen.