The Gospel Today
Wednesday of the Twenty-eight Week in Ordinary Time
The Lord said:
“Woe to you Pharisees!
You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb,
but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God.
These you should have done, without overlooking the others.
Woe to you Pharisees!
You love the seat of honor in synagogues
and greetings in marketplaces.
Woe to you!
You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”
Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply,
“Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”
And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!
You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”
Reflection (Sem. Jason Villafuerte):
The Gospel today shows how Jesus admonished the Pharisees and the scholars of the law because of their actions. They mislead the people of Israel on how to follow God’s commandments by nit-picking; yet they do not even lift one finger to be united with the burdens they imposed to the people.
This passage does not only apply to the Pharisees. The admonition is also addressed to us. With our modern world, with our fast evolving technology, many people, including us might have been spending much time in things which have less importance. We work at least eight hours a day. Sometimes, we have overtimes which consume the time for the family. Students nowadays are very busy on their Facebook accounts, chatting to a number of online friends or scanning other people’s profiles.
In this regard, we can ask ourselves: “What is the cost of my devotion to such less significant things?” with our very busy schedule every day, we tend to forget that we are not just physical bodies – we have a spiritual soul that we should also nourish like our physical body. How nourish the soul? It is by receiving the communion every Sunday and by sanctifying our day through prayer. Yes, prayer! Are you feeling so distressed? Pray. Are your feeling joyful? Pray. The Gospel reminds us of what is important: “Justice and the love of God.” However, to serve ourselves and cater to the material desires, we sacrifice the love of God and neighbor. We give excessive attention to exterior things while letting interior life deteriorate. Examples of such are buying things that we really do not need, having much clothes in the cabinet that have not been worn for over 2 month or longer, having the very latest gadget even if the one we have are still functional, eating excessively and leaving plenty of leftovers, and many more.
We are social beings. Thus, we need other people to communicate, to commune, to give and receive. We have the capacity to give ourselves to others: our time, our effort, and others. Let our capacity to serve others be maximized. It is through our service to others that we also serve God. While we serve, we should not be boastful because St. Paul reminds us that we may be puffing ourselves up in arrogance before God. Moreover, Jesus himself said: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged.”
Today, God is giving us today the opportunity to grow in holiness. May we start this day to re-assess ourselves and look for God – not in far places – but inside our hearts. We just need to respond to His call to witness to a holy life to the rest of the world.