Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you go into much detail on who much one ought to tithe even seeds for seasoning, but have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. – Matthew 23:23
Christ speaks to the matter of selective righteousness that allows a seemingly devout person to declare himself or herself “righteous”; more specifically, the selective righteousness that leads to lack of perspective, priority, and proportionality.
You could characterize the scribes as the Bible teachers of the day and the Pharisees as the reactionary religious souls of those times. And in the practice and methodology of both of these religious groups, Christ pointed out a sinfulness cloaked in sacred garb.
In our present times, we see this sacred sinfulness in those who are zealots for this moral issue or that moral issue yet give little regard to the weightier matters of mercy and faithfulness. By being zealous on this issue or that issue, issues that usually are not applicable to themselves, they think that makes them the righteous ones. No, by their selectivity of certain concerns, they make themselves the self-defined, self-righteous ones. And by the emphatic “Woe to you!” we can sense that this issue of selective righteousness was of desperate concern.
I find this sin of selective righteousness that leads to self-righteousness is running rampant in our times. And I believe it brings woe to the spirit of Christ.
The weightier matters of mercy and faithfulness … they do not produce the sins of arrogance, bigotry, judgmentalism done all in the name of the Lord.
In Christ’s Service always,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz