The spirit of the law
Monday, August 26, 2019
21st Week in Ordinary Time
1Thes 1:1-5, 8b-10
Mt. 23: 13-22
Jesus said, “Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door to the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor do you allow others to do so.
“Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel by sea and land to win a single convert, yet once he is converted, you turn him twice as fit for hell as yourselves.
“Woe to you, blind guides! You say: To swear by the Temple is not binding, but to swear by the treasure of the Temple is. Blind fools! Which is of more worth? The gold in the Temple or the Temple which makes the gold a sacred treasure? You say: To swear by the altar is not binding, but to swear by the offering on the altar is. How blind you are! Which is of more value: the offering on the altar or the altar which makes the offering sacred? Whoever swears by the altar is swearing by the altar and by everything on it. Whoever swears by the Temple is swearing by it and by God who dwells in the Temple. Whoever swears by heaven is swearing by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
A story is told of a remote town whose residents lodged a complaint over a rooster that crowed all night. In response to the complaint, the municipal council passed a resolution ordering the owner to put the rooster to death. When the owner complied the residents were relieved. But there was one thing the residents did not know about roosters. The rooster that was killed was a king rooster. When it crowed all the other roosters had to keep quite. Now that their king is dead, all roosters tried to outdo one another in crowing in a bid to be chosen the next king. The council’s action made the nights of the residents more miserable.
Without prudence decision makers can make the lives of people miserable. The more obvious example is the policy of some parishes denying the sacraments to non-members of Basic Ecclesial Communities. This policy drives people away from the Church. The harsh words Jesus used in today’s Gospel hint at how he wanted his flock treated. He said: “Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel by sea and land to win a single convert, yet once he is converted, you turn him twice as fit for hell as yourselves.”
Imprudent political leaders can be changed in the next elections. No such remedy is available against imprudent religious leaders. Their people grumble all night like roosters but in the end they only do more harm to themselves. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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