Jesus condemns the Pharisees and scribes as a brood of vipers who are headed towards Hell. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by pursuing the Virtue of Faith so he can believe in and fear the reality of Hell and by building the Virtue of Temperance so he can banish all evil media from his life.
21st Week in Ordinary time – Wednesday – Mt 23:27-32
Completing His scathing warning of the seven woes to the Pharisees, in the sixth and seventh woes, Jesus condemns their prideful desire to be noticed as righteous and their boastful claims of tolerance. “Woes” are a declaration of doom, curses that warn the unrepentant of God’s coming Judgment.
The sixth woe condemns the Pharisees for conspicuous acts of self-righteousness. Painting tombs with whitewash showed deference to the dead and where the dead were buried, so men could avoid ritual impurity by accidental contact. Jesus exposes the Pharisees’ hypocrisy of whitewashing tombs so they could be praised by men; the Pharisees are spiritually dead inside and full of evil. The seventh woe condemns the Pharisees of hypocrisy for their false honor of the prophets, and their prideful boasts that they would not kill the prophets as their fathers had; Jesus, the Divine Prophet, condemns their lies, knowing the Pharisees will soon carry out their schemes to kill Him in the Crucifixion.
Omitted in today’s reading and the entire Liturgy, the next verses (v 33-36) confirm Jesus’ damning condemnation of the Pharisees for their future treachery, and that will likely be sent to Hell: “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to Hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify; and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth…Truly I say to you, all this will come upon this generation.” In this, Jesus reveals God’s harsh condemnation of evil men and demonstrates His heroic and powerful masculinity in battling against evil.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Realize the fear-inducing Anger of Jesus as He Harshly Condemns the unrighteous Pharisees: full of righteous Anger, despite the powerful Pharisees’ plots to kill Him, Jesus Courageously (a part of Fortitude) Condemns them publicly in the Temple, Embarrassing them in front of the large crowd; fiery in Truth (a part of Justice), Jesus uses Mockery and induces Fear with deliberately insulting and damning words (hypocrites, unclean, brood of vipers, murders), seeking to reach the hard-hearted Pharisees and Warn the huge crowd; Divine Judge, Jesus warns the evil Pharisees that they are on the path to Hell.
Believe in, and fear the reality of Hell
Realize: The omitted Gospel verses (v 33-36) make it absolutely clear that Jesus is extremely harsh in condemning sin and evil men, and confirms the reality that Hell exists and men are sent by God to Hell.
Believe: Refresh your understanding of Hell (CCC 631-637, 635, 1033-1037, 1056-1057, 1861).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Faith so I believe in the fullness of Your Truth in the Creed, including the reality of the eternal punishment of Hell, and I have an absolute belief in Your Divine Providence and Your desire for me to become a saint and be received by You into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Banish all evil media from your life
Realize: As in Jesus’ time when evil men controlled social dialog, today, evil men control mass media and promote sin, oppose the teachings of Jesus and His Holy Catholic Church, and attack and seek to silence men who seek to speak the truth.
Believe: Reflect upon Social Communications Media (CCC 2493-2499).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Truth, help me build the Virtue of Temperance so I adhere to Your Truth, I reject all evil media, and I shrewdly limit the influence of all forms of popular media on me and my family.