The Disease of the Pharisees

1 Jn 4:19-5:4 / Luke 4:14-22

Many thinkers and many people in general flee into the abstract and the universal as a way of avoiding the very dull and very concrete demands of everyday reality. It’s like the stereotypical housewife who flees to daily Mass, while ignoring the obvious need of her children for breakfast. It’s the disease of the Pharisees, having the passport perfectly in order, and then going nowhere.

St. John summarizes the problem with pungent words in today’s Epistle. “One who has no love for the brother he has seen cannot love the God he has not seen.” It’s a strident warning to us all. We can’t hide behind eloquent prayers or fine sentiments. We have to take care of our neighbors, just as Jesus would, if we want to be His disciples.

So what kind of match is there between your prayers and your deeds? Does what you tell the Lord match what you do? Of all the people you pray for, are there any for whom you actually do something concrete?

Why not look for the point where your gifts and their needs touch? That’s God’s assignment for you and He’s waiting for you and for all of us to get busy.