Today’s August 2nd Reading
Today’s Gospel Reading August 2nd is from the Coptic Lectionary. Some call this passage “the Woes” and in these pronouncements Jesus minces no words for his contempt of the religious establishment of his time.
How would you imagine a version of the “Woes” in today’s religious climate?! Would it possibly go like this:
“Woe to you televangelists and evangelicals, for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against women, gay folke, the immigrant and the poor, the sick and the elderly, the non American and the Moslem. Woe to you preachers and popes for you hear the cries of the poor and the oppressed and close your hearts to them and yet make great productions of your preaching and your pontificating. Therefore you will receive the greater condemnation! Woe to you emissaries of the Word that seek to force a conversion and once having obtained you make the convert twice as evil as yourself! Woe to you scholars and scribes who teach a gospel of your own making that demands nothing, do you not know that if all is relative then nothing is sound and woe to you preachers who hold the Scroll sacred, blind fools do you not know it is the meaning not the words that make the Scriptures holy. Woe to you religious persons who meet your budgets for your churches and your programmes whilst ignoring injustice and oppression. Woe to you Preachers and Popes you build mega churches and comfortable offices but inside they are full of hypocrisy and blind power first clean these houses of worship you have built so that you can clean the people that supports them!”
Matt 23:13-26 [Arabic]
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, “Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And, “Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Today is the Feast Day in the Roman Kalendar of St Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop and doctor of the church, of Blessed Basil of Moscow, Fool for Christ who once rebuke Ivan the Terrible, of Blessed Basil of Kubensk, monk, of St Stephen martyr and bishop of Rome in the Russian OCA Kalendar, and of St Timothy the 1st, 3rd century Pope of Alexandria and of the Falling of Asleep of St Joseph Foster Father of Jesus. May these and all our holy companions pray with and for us on our journey in faith through Jesus Christ Our Lord Amen+
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