Today’s Gospel: Luke 11:42-4
Sometimes the Pharisees get a bad rap in the Gospels, but they were important to the spiritual welfare of the nation of Israel. During the Exile, it was difficult for the Israelites to stay faithful to God. They were surrounded by cultures that were nothing like them, believed almost none of the same things, and were also very tempting because of the wealth and power associated with them. The Pharisees were people who chose to radically live their faith in the Lord in the midst of a culture that was diametrically opposed to their worldview.
But years after returning to Judea, the Pharisees had added rules and regulations, imposing terms on people that were difficult to follow. They were unbending and lacked mercy. They would follow the letter of the law without following the spirit of the law. Pope Francis might have called them rigid.
We decry the two-faced nature of the Pharisees’ demonstration of faith: making all the show of adherence to God’s Law while not actually internalizing it and loving others the way God commands us. But don’t we tend towards this ourselves? In 1995, DC Talk released a song called “What if I Stumble?” that began with someone saying, “The greatest cause of atheism today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” We’re called to be lights to the world not only by proclaiming the Gospel, but by living it, as well. Let us do more than pay lip service to the Truth.
In your love and zeal for God, do you also make sure to live that faith out with compassion for others?
Lord, fill me with zeal for You, but also with compassion and love for others. Grant me the grace to live the faith well in every way.
Copyright 2019 Christine Johnson
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