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With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption. — Psalm 130:7
Mass readings: Romans 3:21-30 / Luke 11:47-54
Jesus is critical of the Pharisees in many Gospel passages. In today’s, He unleashes a barrage of criticism, with all cannons blazing. It’s not limited to the Pharisees who were there at the time, either. Jesus traces prophet-killing behavior back through Israelite history. He condemns the practices of their ancestors. He holds them accountable “for the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world.” Later, stinging statements like this would get Stephen stoned to death.
Jesus was furious over their practice of emphasizing externals while overlooking their own violations of essentials. They were like someone setting out the “good” dishes for relatives they can’t stand, harbor resentments against, and feel superior to. It’s worthwhile asking, “Do I sometimes go through the motions of piety while forgetting its purpose?”Prayer: Jesus, keep me from merely going through religious motions.
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