Fr. Ben’s homily for Wednesday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: WOE TO YOU PHARISEES!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
*Rom 2 : 1 – 11, Lk 11 : 42 – 46.
Jesus spoke very harshly to the Pharisees in today’s gospel, in the 5th gear of homiletic velocity. A T Robertson calls it the ‘rolling thunderstorms of divine judgment’. He spoke to them in a kind of mirror parable which enabled them to see themselves clearly in the picture as the lawyer rightly observed: ‘Teacher, when you talk like this you reproach us too’. Jesus did not mince words in continuing the remonstration: ‘Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear, and do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers’. This is serious!
Pharisees are all over our churches today; paying their tithes and making contributions in our churches but neglecting the weightier matters of morality, justice and love of God; They love the best of seats in our churches as priests, catechists, elders, layreaders, choristers, etc; Many receive holy communion daily in a state of mortal sin and are like graves that are not seen. People think they are holy but God knows they belong to secret cults, are fornicators and adulterers, thieves and decievers, etc. Very many lawyers (secular and ecclesiastical), moral and dogmatic theologians, canonists, liturgists, intellectuals, etc belong to the Pharisee camp; They load men with theological and moral burdens (church precepts and laws) too hard to bear but do not try at all to keep them.
So what do we do? Should we dispense of laywers and judges? Some people have to judge others of necessity. Some people have to make laws for the rest. The onus lies on us to try to live exemplary lives, especially when we find ourselves in special positions as teachers, judges and priests. St James says: ‘Let not many of you become teachers for they that teach shall be judged with a greater judgment’, Js 3: 1. ‘If the devil ever laughs’, says Charles Colton, ‘it must be at hypocrites; they are the greatest dupes he has; they serve him better than any others, but receive no wages’. It is a religious disaster to be a hypocrite/ Pharisee. We should try as much as possible not to judge others. And if we must, judge them with charity, knowing that we ourselves are unworthy. Shakespeare says that ‘Frail creatures are we all. And to be the best is but with the fewest faults’. May God bless you today!