Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Why were the Pharisees being so good?

A short reflection on the readings for Thursday of the Thirtieth Week of Ordinary time:

It is an interesting event, to see the Pharisees running to Jesus and warning Him.  Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.”  Doesn't it seem almost as if they were being his friend, his ally?  Rather, the early Church Fathers taught us that the Pharisees were not looking to help Jesus, but rather to get Him to flee that area.   So they threatened Him, whether ordered by Herod to do so, or creating a fictional threat to scare him is unimportant.  What is important is the context in which this seems to have occurred. 

We see in the previous verses that Jesus is teaching.   He is warning that many who think they will be at the Lord's Supper will not, and many you won't expect will.  "The last shall be first and the first shall be last."  His warning seems to implicate that there are those who are claiming to be Holy, but are not going to make it.  The Pharisees, who were fond of their power and wealth, likely perceived this preaching as a threat to their status.  The Scriptures then go on to say "At that time some Pharisees came to him[....]"  At that time is an important clue.  Jesus has just humiliated the leader of the synagogue.  He has just challenged the people to think deeply about their status before God, and in a way, to follow Him and His example.  He has just threatened the hold the Pharisees had on them. At the very moment this happened, they came to him to try to scare him off.. to try to get him to leave before he could cause any more trouble.

Jesus doesn't fall for it.  He sends a message back to Herod and in it let's them know with no uncertain terms that he is not leaving.. but intends to continue performing miracles and preaching all the way to Jerusalem.  What does that have to do with me and you?  I think in this day and age a lot.  We are in a time where Catholics are being persecuted in the world.  People are being martyred.  Faith is being relegated to behind closed doors.  Abortion is being touted as a 'basic human right'.  Everything that we stand for is being condemned, and we are being ridiculed back into our sanctuaries and informed that is the only place for the Gospel.  But they are wrong.  They are trying to scare us like the Pharisees.  Our response should be the same as Jesus'.  We should be heading towards our own Jersualem and our own Easter.  We pick up our cross and we stand tall, we continue to preach at all times, when necessary (and yes, it is often necessary) using words. 

When we fall, when we stumble.. when we are scared; we turn to the First Reading that the Church in her infinite wisdom has paired with this one.  A reading in which we are shown the truth of the communion of Saints.  The truth of the mercy and love that God has shown to us through the sacrifice of his only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Nothing.. NOTHING... no one, no thing, not angels, not demons, not people, can separate us from the Love of Christ.   Not even death itself.  We will always be a part of the body, even if we were to die for our faith.  Are you ready?  Lord I believe.  Help my unbelief.