Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.”
The next time sometime suggests to you that Jesus was nothing more than a teddy bear, point out today’s Gospel passage. One of several things will happen. That someone may recognize that he’s mistaken. Or that someone may suggest—as some scholars actually do—that this passage was made up, and that Jesus never said what this passage records Him as saying. Or that person might suggest that it’s only against people like the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus ever spoke in such a way.
The third of these possibilities is most likely to be the response of those challenged to explain this passage. But this is where the sharp point of the Gospel needs to be recognized.
Today’s passage was not included in Matthew’s Gospel account so that we could wag our fingers at those in our own lives who resemble the scribes and Pharisees. Rather, we need to hold their lives up to ours, and see to what extent we mirror them. We might like Jesus always to be a teddy bear, but more often than not we need Him for our own sakes not to be.