by Sister Madonna Swintkoske
"Jesus spoke to the crowds and the disciples, saying, 'The Scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you ...'" -- Gospel of Matthew
We could almost think that Jesus is commending the Scribes and Pharisees until he continues, "... but do not follow their example."
As far as the Scribes and Pharisees taught reverence and love for God and respect and love for all individuals, their teachings are to be observed. However, their whole outlook on religion with their thousands upon thousands of rules and regulations made it an intolerable burden. Religion is meant to lift us up not to drag us down. It is to be a joy not a depression. Religion exists to help us not to haunt us.
From today's Gospel we see that the way of the Pharisees was to dress and act in such a way as to draw attention to themselves and how good they were. As Christians we see that following the law is not the problem but how and why we live that law is the key. Do we do "good" for the praise we get or do we live the law out of love of God and each other?
I think the Catholic Church is sometimes denigrated for all its laws, and yet, there really aren't that many. There might be regulations for how ceremonies are done or requirements for receiving the sacraments, but as far as actual laws, I bet there aren't even two dozen--and even those derive from the Commandments.
Way to go , Madonna. I found your reflection very helpful. Thanks, Marietta