OCTOBER 14. Ord Time. B. Wk 28 Thu. Lk 11. 47-54
Jesus said: ‘Alas for you who build the tombs of the prophets, the men your ancestors killed! In this way you both witness what your ancestors did and approve it; they did the killing, you do the building.
‘And that is why the Wisdom of God said, “I will send them prophets and apostles; some they will slaughter and persecute, so that this generation will have to answer for every prophet’s blood that has been shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was murdered between the altar and the sanctuary.” Yes, I tell you, this generation will have to answer for it all.
‘Alas for you lawyers who have taken away the key of knowledge! You have not gone in yourselves, and have prevented others going in who wanted to.’
When he left the house, the scribes and the Pharisees began a furious attack on him and tried to force answers from him on innumerable questions, setting traps to catch him out in something he might say.
Today, Jesus concludes his very strong criticism of the leaders of the people; - the Pharisees, Sadducees and Lawyers, (those familiar with the law of Moses). He points to the fact that while they had built the tombs of the prophets; - these were the very people their ancestors had killed.
He then goes back to the earliest days highlighting all the Prophets who had been killed ‘from Able to Zechariah”; - “every prophet’s blood that has been shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was murdered between the altar and the sanctuary”
And we must be mindful of the role of these murdered prophets! They were people sent by God to condemn the sins of the people and to call them to repentance! And what happened as a result is that many of them were killed!
The reason Jesus alluded to the deaths of these prophets, at this point, was because he was aware these same leaders were about to put him to death also; - he being the last of the Prophets sent by God!
We need to remember this whole discourse with the Pharisees began when he was invited to one of their homes; - and they criticised Jesus for not washing his hands before eating. The reason they did this was to try and catch him out; - which they did; - by telling him he had not washed his hands!
How frustrating it must have been for Jesus, to be preaching and delivering the Good News to the crowds, but to be constantly harassed by these leaders, who “wished to wear long tassels and be honoured in the marketplace”; - but who today he called fools and shallow hypocrites.
The conclusion to today’s reading almost verifies the point Christ was making about them wanting him killed; -
“When he left the house, the scribes and the Pharisees began a furious attack on him and tried to force answers from him on innumerable questions, setting traps to catch him out in something he might say”.
Gospel Acclamation Jn14:16
I am the way, the truth, and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
First reading Romans 3:21-30 ·
It is the same justice of God that comes to Jew and pagan alike
God’s justice that was made known through the Law and the Prophets has now been revealed outside the Law, since it is the same justice of God that comes through faith to everyone, Jew and pagan alike, who believes in Jesus Christ. Both Jew and pagan sinned and forfeited God’s glory, and both are justified through the free gift of his grace by being redeemed in Christ Jesus who was appointed by God to sacrifice his life so as to win reconciliation through faith. In this way God makes his justice known; first, for the past, when sins went unpunished because he held his hand, then, for the present age, by showing positively that he is just, and that he justifies everyone who believes in Jesus.
So what becomes of our boasts? There is no room for them. What sort of law excludes them? The sort of law that tells us what to do? On the contrary, it is the law of faith, since, as we see it, a man is justified by faith and not by doing something the Law tells him to do. Is God the God of Jews alone and not of the pagans too? Of the pagans too, most certainly, since there is only one God.