Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Reading 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
Gospel Matthew 23:27-32

"‘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 someone 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 bad old scribes and Pharisees. Rather, we need to hold their lives up to ours, and see to what extent we mirror them. We would like Jesus always to be a teddy bear, but occasionally we need Him not to be.