Thursday - Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
our help and guide,
make your love the foundation of our lives.
May our love for you express itself
in our eagerness to do good for others.
You live and reign with the Father and the
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Luke 11,47-54
'Alas for you because you build tombs for the prophets, the people your
ancestors killed! In this way you both witness to 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 perished between the
altar and the Temple." 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 from going in who wanted to.'
When he left
there, the scribes and the Pharisees began a furious attack on him and tried to
force answers from him on innumerable questions, lying in wait to catch him out
in something he might say.
● Once again for the one hundredth
time, today’s Gospel speaks about the conflict between Jesus and the religious
authorities of that time.
● Luke 11, 47-48: Alas for you
because you build tombs for the prophets. “Alas for you because you build tombs
for the prophets, the people your ancestors killed! In this way you both
witness to what your ancestors did and approve it; they did the killing, you do
the building”. Mathew says that these were the Scribes and the Pharisees (Mt
23, 19). Jesus’ reasoning is clear. If the ancestors killed the prophets
and the sons built the toms, it is because the sons approved the crime of their
fathers; besides everybody knows that the dead prophet does not disturb
anybody. In this way the sons become witnesses and accomplice of the same crime
(cf. Mt 23, 29-32).
● Luke 11, 49-51: To ask for an
account of the blood that has been shed since the foundation of the world.
“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 Able to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between
the altar and the Temple. Yes, I tell you, this generation lying in wait to
catch him out in something he might say”. Compared with the Gospel of
Matthew, Luke usually offers a brief version of Matthew’s text. But here he
increases the observations: “shed since the creation of the world, of the blood
of Abel”. He did the same thing with the genealogy of Jesus. Matthew, who wrote
for the converted Jews, begins with Abraham (Mt 1, 1.2.17), while Luke goes
back to Adam (Lk 3, 38). Luke universalizes and includes the Pagans, then he
writes his Gospel for the converted Pagans. The information about the murdering
of Zechariah in the Temple is given in the Book of Chronicles: “The spirit
of God then invested Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood up before
the people and said, ‘God says this, ‘Why transgress Yahweh’s commands to your
certain ruin? For if you abandon Yahweh, he will abandon you. Then they plotted
against him and at the king’s order stoned him in the court of the Temple of
Yahweh” (2Cr 24, 20-21). Jesus knew the story of his people to the minutest
detail. He knew that he would be the next one on the list from Abel to
Zechariah; and up until now the list continues to be open. Many people have
died for the cause of justice and of truth.
● Luke 11, 52: Alas for you Doctors of the
Law. “Alas for you lawyers who have taken away the key of knowledge. You have
not gone in yourselves and have prevented others from going in who wanted to”. How
do they close the Kingdom? They believe that they have the monopoly of
knowledge in regard to God and to God’s Law and they impose on others they own
way, without leaving a margin for a different idea. They present God as a
severe judge and in the name of God they impose laws and norms which have
nothing to do with the commandments of God, they falsify the image of the
Kingdom and kill in others the desire to serve God and the Kingdom. A community
which organizes itself around this false god “does not enter into the Kingdom”,
neither is it an expression of the Kingdom, and prevents its members from
entering into the Kingdom. It is important to notice the difference between
Matthew and Luke. Matthew speaks about the entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven
and the phrase is written in the verbal form in the present: "Alas for
you, lawyers of the Law and Pharisees, hypocrites, who close the Kingdom of
Heaven before men, because in this way you do not enter and you prevent others
from going in who wanted to enter.(Mt 23, 13). The expression to enter into
the Kingdom of Heaven could mean to enter in Heaven after death, but it is probable
that it is a question of entering into the community, around Jesus and in the
communities of the first Christians. Luke speaks about the key of knowledge and
the phrase is written in the verbal form in the past. Luke simply ascertains
the pretension of the Scribes to possess the key of knowledge in regard to God
and to the law of God prevents them from recognizing Jesus as Messiah and
prevents the Jewish people from recognizing Jesus as Messiah: You take
possession of the key of knowledge. You yourselves do not enter and you prevent
others to enter.
● Luke 11, 53-54: The reaction
against Jesus. The reaction of the religious authority against Jesus was
immediate. “When he left there, the Scribes and the Pharisees began a
furious attack on hi, and tried to force answers from him on innumerable
questions, lying in wait to catch him out in something he might say”. Since
they considered themselves the only true interpreters of the Law of God, they
tried to provoke Jesus on questions of interpretation of the Bible so as to be
able to surprise him in something which he would say. Thus the opposition
against Jesus and the desire to eliminate it continues to grow. (Lk 6, 11;
11, 53-54; 19, 48; 20, 19-20; 22, 2).
4) Personal questions
● Many persons who wanted to enter
were prevented from doing it and they no longer believed because of the
anti-evangelical attitude of the priests. Do you have any experience
● The Scribes began to criticize
Jesus who thought and acted in a different way. It is not difficult to find
reasons for criticizing anyone who thinks differently from me. Do you have any
experience regardi8ng this?
5) Concluding prayer
Yahweh has made
known his saving power,
saving justice for the nations to see,
mindful of his
and his constancy to the House of Israel. (Ps 98,2-3)