Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
When people complain about your message, you can dial it down or dial it up. In today’s Gospel, Jesus takes the latter approach. He goes after the Pharisees, and then when the scholars of the law complains that He has mistakenly attacked them in His preaching, Jesus then deliberately attacks them in His preaching. The scholars have made unreasonable demands on the people, and done nothing to help. All of this would be bad enough, without the charge that Jesus brought at the start of his preaching–because of everything they do, the Pharisees and scholars think themselves better.
It can be very satisfying to see others commit sin, and think to ourselves “thank goodness I’m not so bad.” But in taking such an attitude, we use that other person to feel good, and we do not have the charity towards others that God commands. St. Isaac the Syrian admonished those who look down on a person who has sinned by asking why “hate the sinner, mere man that you are? Is it because he is without your virtue? But where is your virtue if charity is lacking?” If we look down on others in their sins, and ease our consciences through their faults, we do not have the virtue and goodness we think. And so in love Jesus dials up his preaching today, to shake us out of our complacency and urge us to grow in love.