Jesus calls out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees most pointedly because of their inconsistency. They were intent on setting themselves up as righteous leaders for others to follow, but in truth they neglected what Jesus calls the weightier things: judgement, mercy, fidelity. They spoke about God’s holiness but failed to reach out to others as God would, that they might be reconciled and themselves become holy. Instead they had only to offer mostly condemnation and rejection.
Paul recognized his own struggles, but was bold enough to invite his listeners to follow the example he set. At a time when the Christian community believed Jesus’ return to be immediate, many of them gave up living in the present and set their sights on God making all things right. They neglected their responsibilities and lived off the hard work of others. Paul admonished them to bring order and balance back into their lives, despite toil and drudgery, working night and day, and being no burden to one another. It is not wrong to ask God to provide what is beyond our power–good weather, physical endurance, cooperative neighbors, success. But we cannot expect God to intervene where we have power–good decisions, exercise and a healthy diet, compassion for others, hard work. This “quietism” (a heresy BTW) admits that we are powerless to bring about the good we seek, that God alone fulfills his will without our participation or cooperation.
Every time a hurricane comes barreling down, there will be people who will claim God will take care of them. God gave you a brain to recognize you are not helpless, and legs to move out of the path of danger. God might even send the sheriff’s deputies to herd you out of your house, and two boats and a helicopter to lift you to safety. But at some point you have to move your lazy butt and get moving!
This mass was offered for the repose of +Mila Rivera.
Rolo B Castillo © 2020