Monday, August 25, 2014

Sympathy and truth

In today's gospel we have reached that point in chapter 23 where Jesus is denouncing the various forms that the hypocrisy of scribes and Pharisees takes.

Each begins with "Woe to you". Ουαι.

One might be forgiven for thinking that this sounds like a curse, wishing woe on them. In fact it is just the opposite. The word is an exclamation, like many of the one word exclamations that we use in English. They are those single word utterances that we blurt out at moments of intense emotion.

The emotion behind this one however is not anger but grief. Yes, Jesus calls them stupid, dull, and blind. But his reaction to their stupidity, dullness, and blindness is not our reaction of anger and frustration; it is grief, the grief any of us feel when we see someone we truly love messing up their lives. It is the pain of a parent watching their child who just doesn't get it.

It may be truth that you have a family member, friend or co-worker who just doesn't get it. Don't get angry. Anger never fixed anything. Like Jesus feel sympathy, feel grief, and pray for them.