Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
October 16, 2019
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Today, in Mercy … Oh boy, Paul and Jesus stick it to hypocrites in today’s readings. And I’m like, “Yeah! Go get those rotten, lying hypocrites” – and I have a whole slew of people in mind!
Then, WHOA! I see Paul’s no-nonsense warning:
For by the standard by which you judge another
you condemn yourself,
since you, the judge, do the very same things.
This is a definite “clean up your act” reading. And don’t deflect your own sinfulness on to the people around you!
Jesus takes the same advice to the Pharisees by throwing a couple of serious “woes” at them:
- Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others.
- Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagoguesand greetings in marketplaces.
- Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.
Oh wow! I don’t want to be like an unseen grave, do you?! Neither did one of the scholars who responded to Jesus, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too!”
But Jesus is undeterred:
Woe also to you scholars of the law!
You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.
Today’s readings offer us a clear message to take a good look at ourselves. Are we guilty of the very uglinesses that we condemn in others?
The Scottish poet Robert Burns got the picture in his poem
“To A Louse”
O would some Power the gift to give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
For fun, here is the Standard English Translation
Ha! Where are you going, you crawling wonder? Your impudence protects you sorely,
I can not say but you swagger rarely
Over gauze and lace,
Though faith! I fear you dine but sparingly On such a place
You ugly, creeping, blasted wonder, Detested, shunned by saint and sinner, How dare you set your foot upon her – Such fine a lady!
Go somewhere else and seek your dinner On some poor body
Off! in some beggar’s temples squat:
There you may creep, and sprawl, and scramble, With other kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Where horn nor bone never dare unsettle
Your thick plantations
Now hold you there! you are out of sight, Below the falderals, snug and tight;
No, faith you yet! you will not be right, Until you have got on it —
The very topmost, towering height Of misses bonnet.
My sooth! right bold you set your nose out, As plump and gray as any gooseberry:
O for some rank, mercurial resin,
Or deadly, red powder,
I would give you such a hearty dose of it, Would dress your breech!
I would not have been surprised to spy You on an old wife’s flannel cap:
Or maybe some small ragged boy,
On his undervest;
But Miss’s fine balloon bonnet! fye! How dare you do it.
O Jenny do not toss your head,
And set your beauties all abroad! You little know what cursed speed The blastie’s making!
Those winks and finger-ends, I dread, Are notice takiing!
O would some Power the gift to give us To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us, And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us, And even devotion.
Music: Britt Nicole – Through Your Eyes (a chance to think about how our loving God sees us, and everyone else/)