October 14, 2020 – 28th Week in Ordinary Time

“Making the Lord to fill the slam-book of our lives, with his choicest words of love and affection!”

(Based on Gal 5:18-25 and Lk 11:42-46 – Wednesday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time)

Heard of a slam-book?

A slam book is a notebook which is popular among the school and college students.

This slam-book is also known as a friendship book or a profile book.

It is a book to know the friend better and to also pen some of the thoughts and feelings about a friend.

The book consists of a number of questions which gives various details and information.

Some of the questions include, “What is your favourite food?”, “Which places have you visited”, “Who are your favourite friends?” etc.

Another question, quite common, in most slam-books is, “Which attitude or quality do you hate the most??

If Jesus were to be handed a slam-book, and posed the question:
“Which attitude or quality do you hate the most (about human beings)?”
… probably, the answer that we would have received would be: Hypocrisy!

Hypocrisy in human beings is perhaps the most hated attitudes of Jesus.

Today’s Gospel has the condemnation of the hated-vice of Hypocrisy of the Pharisees: “Woe to you, Pharisees…” (Lk 11: 42, 43 46)

Religion ought to be a bridge that helps the people to have an easier access to God.

But the Pharisees fractured this bridge with an inconsistent insistence on rules on traditions!

Religion ought to be the network that makes the people to come closer to God.

But the Pharisees broke this network by an inhuman insistence on various practices!

Religion ought to be a link that makes the life of the people more free in God’s presence.

But the Pharisees ruptured this link by burdening the people with wrongly prioritized customs!

The people had to pay a tithe – a share of one’s produces or earnings, usually one tenth. (Lk 11: 42)

This tithe was extracted on all objects and things including the tiny and the minutest ones like mint, rue (a garden herb used for medicinal and cooking purposes) and every garden herb.

But there was no insistence or any obligation placed on the Love of God!

Religion for the Pharisees had been reduced to a fulfilling of doing certain practices and customs with the finest details and the minutest perfection, but completely overlooked the most basic aspect of Loving God!

The offering was much more important than the One to whom it was offered!

Strange indeed, isn’t it?

The Pharisees loved the good places of seating in the synagogue and being greeted in the marketplaces.

They loved to been seen in places of prominence and to be publicly acknowledged and appreciated. (Lk 11: 43)

But there was no insistence or obligation placed on giving the rightful place to God!

Religion for the Pharisees had been reduced to enjoying places of honour and relishing the public acclaim of the common people, but completely overlooked humbling oneself and giving the glory and honour to God!

The seat and the acclaim was much more important than the One to whom it all was fully due!

Strange indeed, isn’t it?

The Pharisees are compared to an unseen grave over which people walk unknowingly. (Lk 11: 44).

It was a ritual impurity for the Jews to touch the graves, and Jesus compares the lives of the Pharisees as a source of causing impurity and defilement to the people who came in contact with them.

There was an insistence and an obligation on fulfilling their various inhuman customs.

Religion for the Pharisees had been reduced to many practices which was sharp in its display of duplicity and unjust weightage given to external fulfilling of the Law, at the cost of the inner dimensions.

The law was much more important than the One gave the Law!

Strange indeed, isn’t it?

The Scholars of the Law imposed many commands on the people and burdened their lives but failed to show any compassion to help them by their lives. (Lk 11: 46)

But there was no insistence or any obligation placed on the Compassion and Mercy of God!

Religion for the Pharisees had been reduced to merely carrying out some routines in the name of following God and was highly imposed though they were highly burdensome and impractical.

The practise of the commands was much more important than the One who commanded utmost honour!

Strange indeed, isn’t it?

These various dimensions of the Pharisaic attitude is very much possible to creep into our own lives.

We could be people…
… for whom the offering is much more important than the One to whom it is offered!
… for whom the places of honour seat and the acclaim is much more important than the One to whom it all is fully due!
… for whom the law is much more important than the One gives the Law!
… for whom the practise of the commands is much more important than the One who commands utmost respect and honour!

Let us seek to root out any of these Pharisaic tendencies from our lives!

The Lord loves to fill the slam-book of our lives.

May He not be made to write his most-hated virtue of Hypocrisy in this book; instead be proud to fill the slam-book of our lives, with his choicest words of love and affection!

May the Saint of the Day – St Callistus, who was the first pope after St. Peter, to be honoured as a martyr – inspire and intercede for us!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “We fight the monsters of Africa in imagination, but from lack of attention…

… we allow us in reality, to be killed by the little serpents that lie in our way!”

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