Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
Reading 1Gal 5:18-25; Gospel Lk 11:42-46
In today’s gospel we see Jesus speaking harshly to the scribes and Pharisees, yet this was not the language of a personal irritation of Jesus but of divine warning and condemnation. Their tithing was meticulous and noteworthy but hypocritical; because it neglected the justice and love of God which Jesus preached throughout his life. The Pharisees were so careful in their outward obedience that they would literally tithe from their herb gardens, counting out seeds and giving a tenth of each to God. It was done with the sole purpose of letting the others know that they followed God if they did all these things associated with rules and regulations. Instead, Jesus said that the real mark of a believer is the love they have for others in God’s family.
Literally, the word “hypocrites” refers to an actor, someone playing a part or pretending. Jesus exposed the corruption of the so called Pharisees and scribes that was covered by the spiritual image. These religious leaders loved giving the impression that they were ever so spiritual, but they actually defiled everyone they came in contact with. It is possible to wrongly use the Scriptures as a tool of control and oppression, while evading one’s true responsibility before God and one’s neighbor.