Saturday of Week 20 – Ez 43:1-7; Psalm 84:9-14; Matthew 23;1-12
Jesus condemns the attitude of the Pharisees, who considered themselves better than others. They convinced themselves that they were close to God because they knew the Law better and how to fulfil it in every detail. This attitude full of pride led them to regard other people with contempt. Feeling superior, they laid on others various additional obligations, which they themselves found ways of avoiding.
Unfortunately, today we face similar Pharisaic attitudes. We feel better than others, but externally we try not to show it. We feel that we are closer to God than others. We like to be praised, but externally pretend we don’t. And here “the devil is in the detail”. Some job needs to be done, and we do it just to get noticed, be appreciated – this is wrong. Or we think ‘others will think I am only doing this to be noticed’, so we don’t help out when we could – this too is wrong. Both helping and not helping can be motivated by pride. That is, human pride cannot be avoided: we can end up doing everything because we are ‘better’ than others, or end up paralysed from doing anything, because we don’t want others to think we consider ourselves better than others. This temptation to over-analyse is just that TEMPTATION. The devil is, indeed, in the detail. Remember yesterday’s reply from Jesus: love is the answer. And love means wanting the good. What should determine our decisions is: is it good for me, will it be good for another? A good which reveals my love for God, and for them?