Wednesday of the Twenty-Eight Week of Ordinary Time
October 14, 2020
Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta
Memorial Feast: Pope Saint Callistus I (b. Rome-+222), Patron Saint of Cemetery Workers
Readings: Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians 5:18-25; Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4, and 5;
Jesus and the Pharisees by Ernest Zimmerman (German, 1852-1901)
In my mind’s eye, I have always pictured Jesus as loving, supporting, reaching out for the “underdog”, and compassionate to those who did not understand His message. However, if you read my reflection from yesterday, you would understand that He strongly challenges people when their lives are based on a double standard of speaking one way but living another.
In today’s Gospel narrative Jesus if addressing His message to the Pharisees, the teachers, and of course to all of us, and immediately grabs our attention with, "Woe to you!” His message to the Pharisees is not about paying the prescribed tithes under the Law of Moses, but it's about ignoring those things which Jesus considers more important—including the love of God as well as all other people. He chastises the Pharisees for accepting honors and recognition, in their relatively easy life, while their unbending adherence to the law made life so much more difficult for everyone else.
In our lives, Jesus’ message is as powerful as ever. Often, our critical eye doesn’t miss a thing done incorrectly by our enemies, politicians, our non-friends, and those we simply don’t wish to understand. We are quick with our criticism and sharp with our judgment. And, too often, we are quick to absolve ourselves of the sins we can see so clearly in others.
Today’s powerful Gospel might inspire us to take a one-day moratorium from criticizing anyone or anything. It’s a small start that could make us more aware of how we really see things. We can begin by asking Jesus for His help in this matter. We can beg for forgiveness from our nitpicking and nagging, as well as the unconscious stream of clever commentary we might carry with us while dealing with our spouses, families, neighbors, or even while reading or listening to the daily news broadcast.
It is when we are more aware of how deeply we are loved by God that we can be moved by the gratitude. Only then, will we be able to ease the judgmental burden we so often carry within us.
Question of the Day: How will you use Jesus as a powerful influence in your life in order to not judge others?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me for this day to love people as you love them. Help me to bite my tongue and offer forgiveness with a generous heart. Let me try to understand others as you understand me in all my flawed humanity. Amen.