Wednesday of the 28th Week of the Year

Luke 11:42-46

Woe to the Pharisees and Scholars of the Law


Today in the gospel Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees and the scribes that their religious practices do not spring from the love of God. This also happens to us if the Holy Spirit is absent. When the following are found among us: anger, jealousy, enmity, ambitions, immoral, filthy and indecent actions, idol worship, witchcraft, drunkenness and orgies, then the Spirit of the Lord is far from guiding us.

On the other hand, when there is an atmosphere of unity and peace, kindness and goodness, humility and self-control, we can easily perceive the presence of the Spirit. In this atmosphere we can believe and understand better what Jesus meant when he said: “Blessed are you!” instead of “Woe to you!” (Fr. Carlos S. Lariosa, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


I do recall Gandhi with his remarks: “I like Christianity and I would have wanted to be a Christian if I saw one.” What a pity! We forgot that real witness consists not of words but of deeds. Pope Paul VI once remarked: “What the world needs now are witnesses. If you happen to be a good teacher it is because you are a good witness.”

Those of us who are in a position to lead and influence others must be most careful. We must not abuse our position. Rather, we must, as Jesus says, practice in our own lives what justice and love demand. If we do so, we shall save not only countless other people but our own souls as well.

In Greek, the word for witness and the word for martyr is the same. A witness must be ready to become a martyr, no matter the cost. (Fr. Nilo Gealan, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


There is a story about a man who applied to work with a logging crew. The foreman, wanting to test him, said: “Let me see you fell a tree.” The man skillfully felled a big tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed: “You can start on Monday.” Four working days went by. Thursday afternoon the foreman told him: “Today is your last day of work! Our performance chart shows that you have dropped from first place on Monday to last place today.” “But I’m a hard worker,” objected the man. “I arrive first, leave last, and even work through the coffee breaks. The foreman, sensing his sincerity, though for awhile, then asked: “Had you been sharpening your ax?” He replied: “No sir, I’d been working too hard to take time for that!”

Like the man in the story, the Pharisees in today’s gospel miss what is essential. They pay tithes with mathematical accuracy, even on minute herbs like mint that grows in small kitchen garden patches, or rue which grows wild in the fields. They are lost in trifles, giving meticulous care to legal details but neglecting what matters most: love of God which flows out to justice and love of neighbor.

According to the law of Moses, one who comes to contact with the dead, knowingly or unknowingly, becomes ceremonially unclean. He/she is debarred from worshipping God; that is, from entering the temple or synagogue for seven days. Jesus warns the Pharisees that they are like graves that contaminate the people with their evil thought and ways.

Jesus denounces the scribes’ burdening of the people with hundreds of rules and regulations while they themselves do not keep them. They who are considered experts of the law are experts in evasion too.

Isn’t there a Pharisee/scribe in each of us? Today Jesus invites us to look deep into our hearts: our priorities, our motivations, and above all, our relationships with him and others. Let us pray that those who come in contact with us today would somehow have a glimpse of a loving, just and life-giving God. (Sr. Vilma Puzon, SSpS Bible Diary 2009)


October 12, 2016 Wednesday

Recently, the Christ the King Mission Seminary celebrated their annual Philosophy Week with the theme, Pope Francis’ Philosophy: Church of the Poor and for the Poor. One of the highlights of that event was the symposium. While listening to the speaker, I was struck with what he said, “Do not feel proud of yourself just because you give food to a street child. The child doesn’t owe you anythingand it does not make you greater than he is or to any other person. Actually you are just giving what is really for him.”

Pride is the most dangerous way to sin. Once the person has that kind of attitude he will then shift his focus from God towards his own self and selfish desires. This happened to the Pharisees and to the teachers of the Law. As priests and experts of the Law they should have had a deeper relationship with the Father. However, because of their self-interest and thirst for fame and praise they became insensitive to the needs of others. Moreover, they could not even recognize the presence and love of God in the person of Jesus Christ. They were totally lost!

Now, the challenge for us is to be pure in our actions and intentions. We should remind ourselves that we are nothing without the grace of God and that our actions should be founded on Agape and on our faith. In this way we become true Christians, being one in His love and His mission. (Sem. Gelasio Joseph P. Bagacay | CKMS, Quezon City Bible Diary 2016)


October 17, 2012

St. Ignatius of Antioch,
bishop and martyr

Gal 5:18-25
Ps 1
Lk 11:42-46

Lk 11:42-46
Woe to the Pharisees and Scholars of the Law

[Jesus said,] 42“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. 43Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. 44Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”

45Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.” 46And 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.”


Judgment and love for God. God commanded a tithe on the first fruits of one’s labor as an expression of thanksgiving and honor for God’s providential care for his people (Dt 14:22; Lv 27:30). But the Pharisees distort religion by tithing even such insignificant things as garden herbs. They meticulously follow regulations but miss the spirit of the law of God, its justice and mercy, by neglecting to care for the needy, the widows, and the weak, the practice of love of neighbor and of true love for God.

The Pharisees love themselves rather than God. They seek social recognition: they “love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces.” In building up their social images, they make idols of themselves. Thus, they are “unseen graves” because they carry inner decay that could contaminate unsuspecting people, much like what graves do to make believers ritually unclean.

The scholars of the law also belong to the same class, imposing unnecessary and burdensome regulations that obscure the important matters of religion, but they themselves could find ways to circumvent these rules. Jesus rages against these hypocrites because they turn people away from the worship and service of the true God.

In what way do you make religion hard for simple people? Can you identify the distortions still existing in our practice of religion?


Tuesday, October 13, 2015


LUKAS 11:42-46. UNSA MAY HALAD NGA MAKALIPAY SA GINOO? Gisaway ni Hesus ang mga Pariseo sa pag-ingon: “Pagkaalaut ninyong mga Pariseo! Naghatag kamo ngadto sa Dios sa ikapulo ka bahin sa mga lamas . . .  apan nagpasagad kamo sa hustisya ug sa gugma sa Dios.” Ang paghatag sa Ginoo og bahin sa mga bunga sa atong tanum, trabaho, o negosyo usa ka maayong buhat. Pinaagi niini, atong giila nga ang Dios maoy gigikanan sa tanang grasya ug nga Siya ang angay’ng pasalamatan. Apan, mag-amping kita nga sa pagpangita’g kabuhian dili kita manikas ug mamintaha sa atong isigkatawo. Sa pagpasalamat sa Ginoo diha sa Iyang templo, nindot kaayo nga atong dalhon ang mga bunga sa limpyo natong binuhatan ug negosyo. Ang Hebreo 13:16 nag-ingon: “Do not forget to do good and to share with those in need, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Posted by Abet Uy



28th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 14-10-15

Romans 2:1-11 / Luke 11:42-46

One of the meaning of admonishment is to express warning or disapproval, especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner.

Whereas rebuke and reprimand both refer to sharp, often angry criticism from a higher authority

In the gospel, it is not that clear whether Jesus admonished or rebuked or reprimanded the Pharisees.

But it was enough to irritate a lawyer when he raised a protest against Jesus for insulting them.

And what that lawyer got in return, and we could have guessed it, was a rebuke and a reprimand from Jesus.

Because the lawyer thought more about his pride than to heed what Jesus was teaching.

It must be remembered that Jesus came into the world not condemn the world but to save the world.

But when the teachings of Jesus are not heeded, especially those teachings on morality expressed by the Church under the authority of Jesus, then it may mean this.

As the 1st reading puts it, are we abusing God’s abundant goodness, patience and tolerance, not realizing that this goodness of God is meant to lead us to repentance.

Let us humbly accept the gentle admonishment of Jesus. Let not our pride make us forfeit His gift of salvation. May we always repent and also refrain from judging others. Posted by Rev Fr Stephen Yim


SEEING YOU – Do you suppose then, you who judge those who engage in such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? – Romans 2:3

Seeing, I saw a man in tattered clothes looking straight at me.

My mind went blank and clutched my bag, afraid he’d snatch it from me.

But as I passed I saw a smile.

He bowed and looked and said a simple “Hi” to break the ice; it hit my pride instead and then I glanced to the side and saw a girl with skin so fair.

Again I thought with judgment raw, that I should run, not stare.

Her skimpy clothes it made me think

That she was paid to smile.

But I think it’s best, these righteous robes

Be thrown in burning piles.

How quick am I to judge my kind, when God was kind to me.

A simple look, a word, a stare Ignites a poisoned sea.

To this, my Lord, I ask Your grace

So I may live so pure.

That when I see another face

Your sweet love will endure. Migs Ramirez (

Reflection: Choose one line from the poem that strikes you.

Lord, let me see You in every person I see today, and love as You have loved.


WHO AM I TO JUDGE? – Since today’s Gospel passage is the continuation of yesterday’s reading, we will have a look at the First Reading, continuation of yesterday’s. Yesterday, Paul had condemned the Gentiles as idolaters. Jewish readers would have agreed with everything Paul wrote. They thought, being Abraham’s descendants, they would be saved. Rabbis taught, “All Israelites will have part in the world to come… Abraham sits beside the gates of hell and does not permit any wicked Israelite to go through.” They judged themselves as saved and condemned all non-Israelites.

This is also reflected in what Justin Martyr said in the Jew Trypho, “They who are the seed of Abraham according to the flesh shall, in any case, even if they be sinners and unbelieving and disobedient towards God, share in the eternal Kingdom.”

Jewish readers would have nodded their heads when they read the first chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Romans. But the continuation we read today must have upset the Jewish readers because Paul contradicts their belief that they would be saved in spite of doing something evil. Jews as well as Gentiles, he writes, will be judged by God who is impartial. “There is no favoritism with God,” today’s reading ends.

In spite of this clear word, the Church taught for a long time that there is no salvation for non-Christians. Catholics became too confident of salvation, and that can be said even for many today. Immorality, corruption and crimes are rampant in the only Christian country in Asia. Why? “God is good! God is all-merciful! God will forgive!” is what too many think to justify their immoral actions. It is correct: God is good, merciful and forgiving. But if we take this as a security blanket and think that salvation is ours whatever we do, then we will be shocked when we stand before our divine Judge who does not know any favoritism. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you easily judge others and overlook your own faults?

Lord, the words of St. Paul hit me. May I not abuse Your mercy and love, and strive for an honest and holy life.


October 14, 2015

Wednesday of the 28th Week in th Ordinary Time

Rom 2: 1-11, Lk 11: 42-46

Laws and Leaders

Today’s Gospel exposes the widening rift between Jesus and the Jewish aristocracy. Unleashing his trade mark utterance, “woe to you Pharisees” thrice Jesus vigorously challenged and exposed their hypocrisy. This unforeseen assault unsettled not only his host but also some of the invited guests. A timorous attempt made by a lawyer to restrain him; made Jesus turn his focus towards the lawyers as well and uttered thee woes to them too. The Pharisees took pride in their strict following of the Moseic laws and rituals. Jesus was never against laws and rituals either. The difference between Jesus and the Pharisees was their attitude and approach towards laws. The Jews followed laws blindly, slavishly and literally without ever trying to enter into the spirit of those laws. “The love of God”, which is the foundation, the life and the goal (past, present and future) of the laws was gradually replaced by “the fear of God” and thereby wiped out the facets of reason, freedom, and spirit of laws. Jesus wanted to restore the reason, freedom and the spirit of laws and opposed blind, slavish, literal obedience of laws. However, bureaucracy and aristocracy always prefer, promote and relish blind, slavish, literal following of laws and regulations. They do not entertain reasoning, freedom and any research into the spirit of laws.

Divine laws were not instituted as instruments of oppression but were formulated to lighten the burden of the people. However in practice the bureaucracy and the aristocracy used them as yokes of subjugation. Unfortunately these strict laws are enforced only on the ordinary people while the ruling class and the rich know how to evade them. The leaders always enjoy special privileges and exceptions. Take the case of any leadership, at any time, of any institution; anywhere in the world. We can observe the leadership has a different set of rules. The cranes will gulp down small fish arrogantly if they come anywhere near. But if big sharks arrive, they just keep their eyes shut and pretend that they have not seen them. If you notify them that there is a big fish, they will accuse you of imagining things and even lying. Suppose a juvenile crane dares to pick on a shark, it will soon pay the price with its own head. In India we often see youthful IAS cranes walking around headless after trying to pick on some political and religious sharks. Jesus knew this truth very well. Yet he dared to say, “Woe also to you lawyers! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.” Jesus knew the consequence of challenging the political and religious leadership. And he was ready to pay the price as well. He did pay the price with his life. The moral of the story: True prophets have a short life span. Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI


Monday, October 10, 2016

Reflection for Wednesday October 12, Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 11:42-46

Reflection: Do you live what you say? For example you will say to your children that they should live simply yet your lifestyle is not simple because you want expensive things. How will your children follow and believe what you say?

Jesus is angry with the Pharisees because many of them were full of pretension their external actions were very much different with their internal thought. They command the people to do this and that yet they themselves were not willing to do it.

What Jesus wants for the Pharisees then and for us now is to lead by example; let us mean what we say and live what we say. This is where we are often lacking, yes we go to church and yes we worship God. But do we translate these to living acts of faith?

Let us not be like the Pharisees and the scholars of the law who are very good only at giving orders. Let us be like Jesus who put into action every word and phrase that He said.

Jesus lived every word that He preached, for example Jesus preached simplicity of lifestyle, He therefore lived this simple lifestyle. Jesus preached about forgiveness and He lived His preaching of forgiveness as well.

Do you live a simple lifestyle and are you forgiving? – Marino J. Dasmarinas


October 12, 2016

Let us imagine the following scenario.­ Two mothers each give birth to a blind baby. One of them sincerely believes that blindness is the worst thing that can happen to a human being and, therefore, out of misguided pity, is very much tempted to kill her baby (this is called “mercy killing” or euthanasia). But she refrains from killing her baby because of God’s commandment, “You shall not kill.” The other mother is extremely saddened by her baby’s blindness, but the thought of killing it never enters her mind. In fact, she would be horrified at such a thought. Which mother really loves her child?

In today’s first reading, the apostle Paul is trying to make a similar point. Those who are led by the law and nothing else obey it under constraint—and thus end up not really obeying it. Those who go beyond the law and obey the law not because it is the law but because they are moved by the love of God, then obey the law spontaneously and easily. They are interiorly moved (motivated comes from the same linguistic root) by the Holy Spirit, who gives them the inner energy to live out the law spontaneously and easily.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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