By Jim Orcutt, Co-Founder of My Brother's Keeper

These personal reflections on the Monday gospel represent my insight of Christ’s message as viewed through the lens of my life experience. It is my hope that others will be inspired to reflect upon their views as well.
Date: August 26, 2019
August 26, 2019

Gospel  MT 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
You do not enter yourselves,
nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You traverse sea and land to make one convert,
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna
twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’
Blind fools, which is greater, the gold,
or the temple that made the gold sacred?
And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift,
or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
one who swears by the temple swears by it
and by him who dwells in it;
one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God
and by him who is seated on it.”

Reflection: 

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
You do not enter yourselves,
nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.”

The scribes were the interpreters of scripture and Mosaic Law.

The Pharisees were an ultra-religious sect of Judaism whose members pledged to live in perfect observance of the scribes’ strict interpretation of scripture and religious law.

In observance of religious law, a Pharisee or scribe would walk around an injured person rather than risk becoming “unclean” by touching someone who was a non-Jew; they taught others to do the same.

We all hope to return to our source, to “enter heaven.”

The scribes and Pharisees conditioned entering heaven upon obedience to so many man-made rules and laws that the common person gave up hope.

In speaking about the Pharisees and scribes, Jesus made clear the difference between religion and spirituality.

Jesus does not denounce religion, but He teaches that “love of
God and one another” supersedes religious law.

His message is one of spirituality: relationship with God and with our fellow man.

If on the way to Mass we come across an injured person, we should tend to their needs, even if it means missing the celebration.

Our love of God and of one another and our attention to the needs of all of God’s creation “becomes the basis” of our love and our worship of God.

Before we are Catholic or Protestant, we are all Christian. And, before we are Christian, Jew or Muslim, we are all children of God.

Our relationship with God is based on the love we show to each other.

In Matthew 25 (known as the examination for Heaven), Jesus makes no mention of religion when he says, “I was hungry and you fed, me, thirsty and you gave me to drink, naked and you clothed me, sick and in prison and you visited me.” — “When you did this for the most humble of my people, you did it for me.”

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.  Romans 13:9-10



A suggestion: Ask yourselves this question.
"Am I my brother's keeper?" If the answer is Yes, perhaps you would like to join us, as we go Along the Way in spreading the Love and Hope of Jesus Christ.

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"Whatever you do for the most humble of my people, you do for me."
Matthew 25:40