MASS, GOSPEL AND COMMENTARY: WOE TO YOU, SCRIBES AND PHARISEES ( Mt 23:27–32).
Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. (289 Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.
(29) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”
Gospel Commentary from the Navarre Bible, Commentary to the Gospel of St. Matthew (with permission)
- 27-28 The Jews used to whitewash tombs annually, shortly before the feast of the Passover. The whitewash made the tombs more visible and helped to avoid people brushing against them, which would have meant incurring legal uncleanness for seven days (Num 19:16; cf. Lk 11:44).
- In the sunlight, these tombs sparkled radiantly white, but inside they still held corruption.
- 29-32 Our Lord shows them that they are cut from the same cloth as their ancestors – not because they erect mausoleums in honour of prophets and just men but because they are guilty of the same sin as those who killed the prophets. Hence their hypocrisy, which makes them even worse than their fathers. With pained irony Jesus tells them that they are compounding the sins of their ancestors.
- Clearly this is referring to his Passion and Death: if the ancients killed the prophets, by causing him to suffer and die our Lord’s contemporaries will be still more cruel.
TOPIC: Can you be a sinner and a saint at the same time?
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