Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Are you a Pharisee?

"For I tell you, if your uprightness does not surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of Heaven." Ano bala ang mga Pharesiyo? Sino bala sila? Sila ang mga tikalon, ma tina-as taason, feeling pure, feeling the best for who they are. They have the habit of looking down so easily on those who they think do not dress like them, do not speak like them, do not behave like them. The Pharisees equate their faith simply by sticking to what they read and understand what is written on the Law. Their righteousness is not based on love but based simply on what they believe is in accordance with the Law. In effect, it makes them less human. They lack the greater understanding of what it means to be truly love, what humility really means, and the miracles that our faith can show us. Today's Gospel has reminded me how much I have become one of these Pharisees so many times in my life when I fail to acknowledge God's mercy to the sinners. I judge too often simply because others do not think like me, do not act the way I do and do not believe in the things that I believe in. My own indifference to those who are not like me is arrogance and blatant rejection of God’s message of love. I want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, I want it so badly. In spite of all the pains and suffering my present life challenges me once in a while, I take consolation in the thought that I can still be deserving heaven... if only I stop acting like I’m a Pharisee.

Reading 1, First Kings 18:41-46

41 Elijah said to Ahab, 'Go back now, eat and drink; for I hear the approaching sound of rain.'
42 While Ahab went back to eat and drink, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel and bowed down to the ground, putting his face between his knees.
43 'Now go up', he told his servant, 'and look out to sea.' He went up and looked. 'There is nothing at all,' he said. Seven times Elijah told him to go back.
44 The seventh time, the servant said, 'Now there is a cloud, small as a man's hand, rising from the sea.' Elijah said, 'Go and say to Ahab, "Harness the chariot and go down before the rain stops you." '
45 And with that the sky grew dark with cloud and storm, and rain fell in torrents. Ahab mounted his chariot and made for Jezreel.
46 But the hand of Yahweh had come on Elijah and, hitching up his clothes, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 65:10, 10-11, 12-13

10 you water its furrows abundantly, level its ridges, soften it with showers and bless its shoots.
11 You crown the year with your generosity, richness seeps from your tracks,
12 the pastures of the desert grow moist, the hillsides are wrapped in joy,
13 the meadows are covered with flocks, the valleys clothed with wheat; they shout and sing for joy.

Gospel, Matthew 5:20-26

20 'For I tell you, if your uprightness does not surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of Heaven.
21 'You have heard how it was said to our ancestors, You shall not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court.
22 But I say this to you, anyone who is angry with a brother will answer for it before the court; anyone who calls a brother "Fool" will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and anyone who calls him "Traitor" will answer for it in hell fire.
23 So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24 leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering.
25 Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and youwill be thrown into prison.
26 In truth I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.

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