Jesus pronounces woes on the Pharisees for their grave sins of injustice and pride. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Diligence so he can reject Sloth and diligently prepare to receive the Eucharist and by pursuing the Virtue of Prudence so he can prudently seek the Sacrament of Penance frequently.
28th Week in Ordinary time – Wednesday – Lk 11:42-46
After Jesus accepts a Pharisees’ invitation to dine at his home, the Pharisee condemns Jesus in his heart for failing to follow the Pharisees’ man-made hand-washing rituals. While He is well aware that the Pharisees are seeking to test and attack Him, Jesus explosively reacts and begins to condemn the Pharisees’ foolish rituals of hand washing and their hypocrisy and greed. Jesus now escalates His condemnation of the Pharisees by proclaiming a series of “woes” upon them;“woes” are God’s declaration of doom, curses that warn the unrepentant of God’s coming Judgment.
Jesus begins by condemning the Pharisees’ confused obsession with keeping to the minute details of tithing, while completely missing the essential need for “justice and the love of God.” The hypocritical Pharisees rigorously measured out their required one-tenth tithe of their harvest of small herbs (mint, dill, cumin), absurdly believing that scrupulosity made them holy, despite failing to love. He rebukes the Pharisees because they constantly seek honor and status in public places (markets, synagogues). He shockingly rebukes the Pharisees, revealing that He considers them to be as defiled as a corpse in a grave; being in contact with a corpse left a Jew ritually unclean and unable to worship in the Temple (Num 19:11-19), and Jesus judges the Pharisees, and their teachings, to be as contaminating to others as death.
A hapless lawyer attempts to challenge Jesus by pointing out that His curses are falling on lawyers too. Unintimidated, Jesus aggressively excoriates lawyers for their hypocrisy at doling out heavy burdens on men while they exempt themselves from the same burdens.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Consider with fear the Harshness of Jesus as He Rebukes the unrighteous Pharisees: full of righteous Anger, despite the powerful Pharisees’ plots to kill Him, Jesus Courageously (a part of Fortitude) Rebukes them; fiery in Truth (a part of Justice), Jesus uses Curses (woe) and deliberately Insulting terms, denouncing their pride-seeking (salutations, honors) and comparing them to graves, a devastating charge of being unclean, and thus, unfit to enter the Temple or to even be in public contact with others.
Reject sloth and diligently receive the Eucharist
Realize: Jesus harshly rebuked many Pharisees, for though they zealously performed many religious rituals, they lacked love; imagine how Jesus will rebuke many Catholic men because they lack sufficient love and gratitude to give God glory in the Sunday Mass, the true and perfect Ritual which Jesus died to give His Church and commanded men to perform.
Believe: Reflect upon the deadly sin of Acedia/Sloth (CCC 1866, 2094, 2733).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Virtue, help me build the Virtue of Diligence (a part of Temperance) so I reject Sloth, I burn with desire to know, love and serve You, and I diligently and joyously prepare and fulfill my Sunday obligation to receive You in Your Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Practice prudence and receive the Sacrament of Penance
Realize: As Jesus makes abundantly clear, the Pharisees were imprudent, failing to use their God-given reason to question their over-rigorous application of their many ritualistic practices and to question their failure to love.
Believe: Reflect upon Prudence (CCC 1806, 1835).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Prudence so I diligently apply my reason to scrutinized my inner thoughts and outer behaviors, I frequently assess myself in a deep Examination of Conscience, I have deep contrition for my sins and resolve to avoid all near occasions of sin in the future, and I receive Your forgiveness and happiness in the Sacrament of Penance and then prudently begin again to grow in holiness.