Daily Devotion for August 6 -12
29 And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, “This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah [h]the prophet. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.
33 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. 34 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is [i]good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is [j]bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35 Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.”
Jesus is using metaphors: a person who has good sight can see things well; similarly, a person whose outlook is pure and uncomplicated is in a position to appreciate the things of God.
Those who opposed our Lord saw the things he did and heard what he said, but their viewpoint was distorted and they did not want to recognize God in him. Here we have also a reproach which applies to anyone who is unwilling to accept the Gospel.
This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad therein.
Luke 11:37 And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and sat down to eat. 38 When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner.
39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of [k]greed and wickedness. 40 Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But rather give alms of [l]such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you.
42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the [m]best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you, [n]scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them.”
45 Then one of the lawyers answered and said to Him, “Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also.”
46 And He said, “Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48 In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,’ 50 that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.
52 “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”
53 [o]And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, 54 lying in wait for Him, [p]and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, [q]that they might accuse Him.
Blessed by the name of the Lord from henceforth and forever more.
Commentary of Jesus and the Pharisees: In this passage — one of the most severe in the Gospel — Jesus determinedly unmasks the vice which was largely responsible for official Judaism’s rejection of his teaching — hypocrisy cloaked in legalism. There are many people who, under the guise of doing good, keeping the mere letter of the law, fail to keep its spirit; they close themselves to the love of God and neighbour; they harden their hearts and, though apparently being very upright, turn others away from fervent pursuit of God — making virtue distasteful. Jesus’ criticism is vehement because they are worse than open enemies: against open enemies one can defend oneself, but these are enemies it is almost impossible to deal with. The scribes and Pharisees were blocking the way of those who wanted to follow Jesus: they were the most formidable obstacle to the Gospel.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning it is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Commentary of Jesus and the Pharisees: The Law of Moses laid down that the harvest had to be tithed (cf. Lev 27:30-33; Deut 12:22ff; etc) to provide for the worship offered in the Temple. Insignificant products were not subject to this Law.
Rue is a bitter, medicinal plant, used by the Jews in ancient times. Did it have to be tithed?: the Pharisees, who were so nit-picking, said that it did.
According to the Old Law, anyone who touched a grave became unclean for seven days (Num 19:16); but with the passage of time a grave could become so overgrown that a person could walk on it without noticing. Our Lord uses this comparison to unmask the hypocrisy of these people he is talking to: they are very exact about very small details but they forget their basic duty — justice and the love of God (v. 42). On the outside they are clean but their hearts are full of malice and rottenness (v. 39); they pretend to be just, appearances are all that matters to them; they know that virtue is held in high regard, therefore they strive to appear highly virtuous (v. 43). Duplicity and deceit mark their lives.
Create in me a clean heart of God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not from thy presence nor take thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and by thy governing spirit establish me.
Commentary of Jesus and the Pharisees: Zechariah was a prophet who died by being stoned in the Temple of Jerusalem around the year 800 B.C. because he accused the people of Israel of being unfaithful to God’s law (cf. 2 Chron 24:20-22). The murder of Abel (Gen 4:8) and that of Zechariah were, respectively, the first and last murders reported in these books which the Jews regarded as Sacred Scripture. Jesus refers to a Jewish tradition which, in his own time and even later, pointed out the stain of the blood of Zechariah.
52 Jesus severely reproaches these doctors of the Law who, given their study and meditation on Scripture, were the very ones who should have recognized Jesus as the Messiah, since his coming had been foretold in the sacred books. However, as we learn from the Gospel, the exact opposite happened. Not only did they not accept Jesus: they obstinately opposed him. As teachers of the Law they should have taught the people to follow Jesus; instead, they blocked their way.
Prayer: O give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.
In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the [a]leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.
4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two [b]copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Nothing — not even the most insignificant thing — escapes God, his Providence and the judgment he will mete out. For this same reason no one should fear that any offering or persecution he experiences in following Christ will remain unrewarded in eternity.
The teaching about fear, contained in v. 5, is filled out in vv. 6 and 7, where Jesus tells us that God is a good Father who watches over every one of us — much more than he does over these little ones (whom he also remembers). Therefore, our fear of God should not be servile (based on fear of punishment); it should be a filial fear (the fear of someone who does not want to displease his father), a fear nourished by trust in divine Providence.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
From St. Patrick’s ‘Breastplate’
Luke 12: 8 “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. 9 But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
10 “And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven.
11 “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. 12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
Commentary: Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit consists in maliciously attributing to the devil actions which have God as their origin. A person who does that prevents God’s pardon from reaching him: this is why he cannot obtain forgiveness (cf. Mt 12:31; Mk 3:28-30). Jesus understands and excuses the weakness of a person who makes a moral mistake, but he is not similarly indulgent to someone who shuts his eyes and his heart to the wonderful things the Spirit does; that was the way these Pharisees acted who accused Jesus of casting out demons in the name of Beelzehul; it is the way unbelieving people act who refuse to see in Christ’s work a sign of the goodness of God, who reject the invitation God offers them and who thereby put themselves outside the reach of Salvation.
We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee, we glorify Thee, we give thanks to Thee for thy great glory.