23RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
They became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.
While no Pharisees are directly implicated in Jesus’ crucifixion by the Romans, it is clear that some of them hated Jesus and wanted to see him killed. They saw him as a threat to their religion and their own elevated social status. Jesus didn’t show deference to them or submit to their interpretation of the Law, and that made them furious. They couldn’t let this “nobody” unseat them in the eyes of the people.
What’s striking is how the rage of these men affected their thinking. They loved God and were committed to living out the Law of Moses. But in their attempts to trap Jesus, they were willing to break the Law. How could these men have allowed their thinking to become so unclear?
Perhaps a look inside our own hearts would be helpful. How many times has resentment, jealousy, or anger tempted us to do something that we knew was wrong? Have we ever caught ourselves seriously contemplating something against God’s law out of a desire for revenge or as a way of blowing off steam? Even within the Church, we can find ourselves speaking against people whose experience of God or expression of faith doesn’t conform to our own.
So how can we make sure that our own irrational temptations don’t overpower us and make us act like these Pharisees? Here are a few simple suggestions.
Don’t let any particular temptation become too strong before you deal with it. If you see an issue becoming too dominant in your mind, try to resolve it—even if all you can do is bring it to prayer. As hard as it may be, try not to let old resentments and past hurts influence your thinking. If you see them rising up in a situation, be very careful not to say something you may regret later.
Finally, examine your conscience every night before bed, and repent of any lingering sins or negative thoughts. Keep your heart pliable and open to the Spirit, and you’ll find yourself far more forgiving and open toward everyone else.
“Holy Spirit, soften my heart. Teach me how to love, and help me to forgive. I want to walk in your freedom!”
Psalm 62:6-7, 9