“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God” Luke 11 42-46
The Pharisees, religiously educated and pious, were highly respected and taught and interpreted the Written Law (Torah) and Oral Law (traditions). They can be likened to catechists of today. The Jewish historian Josephus said they were considered the most expert and accurate expositors of Jewish Law.
Yet, Jesus castigates them for focusing on the externals and vanities instead of the two most important principles of the Jewish Law, Love of God and Social Justice. This speaks to us today in a powerful way, both at International and household levels. We focus on what people see while ignoring the weightier matters: attending Mass and giving collection, while ignoring the vagrants and migrants; living in extravagance while furloughing or laying off staff to maintain profits; presenting the appearance of a loving family while having an affair or taking advantage of vulnerable females; speaking on platforms as Christians yet supporting abortion, ignoring environmental treaties, supporting the arms race while citizens are deprived of universal health care and the list goes on.
Jesus forgive us for giving a tenth of our garden herbs but neglecting Social Justice and the Love of God.