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Prayers, Novena & Litany to St Anne
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Various Prayers
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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
19th June 2016

Does Pharisaism Still Exist in the Church Today?
by St. Francis De Sales

Although the Pharisees of the Gospels may not exist anymore, there are traces of Pharisaism that are still in existence.

There are people whose religion is ostentation. They act, always, so as to be a mark for men's eyes. Boldly written are the texts they carry, and deep is the hem of their garments (Matt. 23:5-6).

There are still those who are quick to judge others, to take scandal from all they do: (a) He is talking blasphemously (Matt. 9). (b) Look, Thy disciples are doing a thing which it is not lawful to do on the Sabbath (Matt. 12). (c) His disciples were plucking the ears of corn and eating them, rubbing them between their hands. And some of the Pharisees said to them: Why are you doing what it is not lawful to do on the Sabbath (Luke 6).

There are others who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel (Matt. 23). Those who seem to have a most delicate conscience in one Commandment, but a lax one (if they have any at all) in other and graver matters. Those who despise others as if they were greater and better than all others. Thus Simon despised the poor sinful woman who knelt at our Lord's feet, bathing them with her tears (Luke 7). Such were those mentioned by St Luke (Luke 18), and against whom our Lord pronounced the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. The fault of Simon is repeated by some pious women who look down on others who have fallen and whose heart is hardened against such poor sinners in a most pharisaical way. At heart they are comparing those sinners with themselves.

On the one hand there is a comparison with their own honest way of life, which reveals a pride which cannot be pleasing to Christ. It does not enter the heads of these pious individuals that the poor women who have sinned much may also have loved much and had much forgiven them. They also forget that they are not made of any better clay than these poor unfortunates. There are others who hide their lack of pity beneath a cape of religion. Others keep apart from the poor and the miserable, refusing to help those in trouble and distress: Here is a man, they said, that entertains sinners, and eats with them (Luke 15:2). This form of Pharisaism has done immense harm to the Church.

Remedies against this evil:

1. To study and imitate the divine Person of Christ in all things. The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, well understood and applied in our lives, is an efficacious remedy against this evil.

2. To achieve it we need to study Christ as He is in the Gospels: (a) Meditate on His words and actions, (b) Study His virtues, so opposed to the vice of Pharisaism: His truthfulness; His humility; His love for the poor and for those in difficulty or in distress.