Fifth Sunday after
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
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.