REFLECTION FOR TODAY,
October 14, 2020
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.” Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.” And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.” Luke 11:44-46
When Jesus said “Woe” to the Pharisees he was bringing a fundamental truth into focus. The truth of justice and love of God rather than the observance of the later of the law and neglecting the heart of the law. The observance of the law could become a habit or routine. In their desire to do all the right things, the Pharisees whom Jesus addressed today had turned their attention toward themselves before others and God.
Our Bible reference today seem to be an interesting and somewhat a surprising exchange between Jesus and this scholar of the law. Here, Jesus is severely chastising the Pharisees and one of the scholars of the law tries to correct Jesus for being offensive. And what does Jesus do? He doesn’t back down or apologize for offending him; rather, He turns His severe rebuke to the scholar of the law. That must have surprised him!
What’s interesting is that the scholar of the law points out that Jesus is “insulting” them. And he points it out as if Jesus were committing a sin and in need of a rebuke. So, was Jesus insulting the Pharisees and scholar of the law? Yes, He probably was. Was that a sin on Jesus’ part? Obviously not. Jesus does not sin.
The mystery we face here is that sometimes the truth is “insulting,” so to speak. It’s insulting to a person’s pride. What’s most interesting is that when someone is insulted, they need to first realize that they are insulted because of their pride, not because of what the other person said or did. Even if someone was overly harsh, feeling insulted is a result of pride. If one were truly humble, then a rebuke would actually be welcomed as a helpful form of correction. Sadly, the scholar of the law appears to lack the necessary humility to let Jesus’ rebuke sink in and free him from his sin.
Reflect, today, upon whether or not you are humble enough to receive correction from another. If someone points out your sin do you get offended? Or do you take it as a useful correction and allow it to help you grow in holiness?
Lord, please give me true humility. Help me to never be offended when corrected by others. May I receive others’ corrections as graces to help me on my way to holiness. Jesus, I trust in You.