Jesus says, “Woe to you” (ouai in Greek; kawawa kayo, malas ninyo in Filipino), to the Pharisees because they are so attentive to insignificant things like paying tithes for having some plants, but they neglect doing the more important precepts of God like doing justice and loving God sincerely. They do not care about God’s priorities. They elude God’s challenges to them.
Jesus points to their inordinate desire to be recognized by the worshipping public. They try to steal the show from God. They are not sincere worshippers of God when they join the assembly on Sabbath. Their presence is not felt because they are totally irrelevant when it comes to doing charity. They are like unseen graves. They are not noticed because of their self-absorption.
Jesus says, “Woe to you,” also to the scholars of the law because they are oppressive. Because of their knowledge on scriptural interpretations, they impose their opinions on others. They prescribe countless prescriptions to the hapless faithful without helping them accomplish anything.
Jesus can say “Woe” to us also if we behave like the Pharisees and the scholars. What matters to God is justice and charity.
Gospel • LUKE 11:42-46
The Lord said: “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. These you should have done, without overlooking the others. Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”
Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.” And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.