Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

August 25, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

2 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 11-12
Psalm 96:1-5
Matthew 23:13-22

A reflection on today's Scripture:

Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. (Matthew 23:13)

Today's readings contrast St. Paul's letter to the Thessalonians with Christ's words spoken to the scribes and Pharisees. St. Paul, then known as Saul, trained as a Pharisee, began his mission by going to Damascus to arrest those Jews who had become Christian and to transport them in chains to Jerusalem for prosecution.

In Acts (Chapter 9), Saul is miraculously converted to Christ and becomes a strong advocate and teacher of the "new faith" by establishing many churches among the Gentile nations. His subsequent letters to these churches praised, instructed and corrected their living in Christ. In today's reading, he joyfully praises the Thessalonians for their faithfulness to God's holy Word.

Jesus in the Gospel is grieved with the scribes and the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, their feigned holiness. While they claimed to be their nation's definitive religious authorities, publicly reciting long prayers, they covertly ingratiated themselves with wealthy widows to plunder their assets. Their blindness, to Christ actually being the Messiah, conveniently served to help them maintain their prestigious and lucrative status.

The Pharisees often attacked Jesus publicly, to turn their people and the converts they had made to Judaism, against His teachings. Christ's strong reaction to them was not motivated by their personal attacks upon Him. Far worse than this was the fact that they were poisoning people's minds against His teachings and so locking them out of the kingdom of God.

Why the vast difference between the Pharisee Paul and the Pharisees condemned by Jesus? Paul humbly accepted his shocking, miraculous conversion because he had a true knowledge of God and a sincere love for Him and His people. Jesus' bitter opponents loved neither God nor His people but only themselves.

O Blessed Redeemer,
all truth and love are given to us by You to make us one in heart and mind and so bring us peace on earth and joy in Your heavenly kingdom. Amen.

- Marie Bocko, OCDS
| email: mlbocko (at) twcny (dot) rr (dot) com

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

St. Louis of France

St. Joseph Calasanz, priest

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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