“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.”

In the gospel of two days ago (Lk 11:42-46), Jesus continues His diatribe against the Pharisees (one of whom whose dinner party Jesus was invited to attend) with the words above.  He continues by blasting them for their desire for seats of honor and deferential greetings in public.  Jesus calls them unmarked graves (as they defile others as they themselves are defiled).  When a scholar of the law objects, Jesus takes him on as well, calling his type those who place difficult burdens on others without helping to carry them.  The warning at top remains for all believers for all time.  What good is scrupulosity in certain rituals of our Faith when we do not follow God’s commands?  Thinking that simply reciting a particular set of prayers, showing faithfulness to Sunday Mass attendance, or giving a certain percentage of income to charity equates to right living in God’s eyes is a dangerously mistaken notion.  Make no mistake, we must pray, we must fulfill our Mass obligations, and we must contribute from our means.  But if there is no love for God or neighbor we are breaking the two greatest commandments (Mt 22:36-40).  Then we are liable to judgment (cf. Mt 5;21-22 and Mt 25:31-46).  When we realize that we cannot save ourselves and that we must show the love of God to others we make progress.  Then all the things that we do will be imbued with God’s Spirit and receive the power that comes with it.

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