Daily Homily: Beware of the Hypocrisy of the Pharisees

Friday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time, Year Two

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Ephesians 1:11-14

Psalm 33:1-2,4-5,12-13

Luke 12:1-7


Jesus has just finished dining with Pharisees and scribes. He accused the Pharisees of foolishness (11:40), neglecting the justice and love of God (11:42), wanting to have the best seats and desiring human praise.
Jesus warns his disciples about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. On the outside, the Pharisee seem to fulfill the Law, but on the inside they are far from the love of God and the fulfillment of the Law. Jesus tells his disciples that one day the intentions of their hearts will be revealed. The hypocrisy of the Pharisees will be unmasked.

Hypocrisy has turned the Pharisees into foolish men: the key of knowledge has been taken away from them and the scribes. They are unable to interpret the Law of God correctly. Maximus of Turin comments that the key of knowledge is Christ the Lord, by whom the hidden places of our hearts are unlocked to believing faith. “The Pharisees lost this key, and the Apostles found it. The Lord says to Peter, ‘I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven'” (Sermon 43,2).

The Apostles have been given knowledge of the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven. They are not to be anxious about things that pass away, for God the Father will take care of them. This is one of the mysteries of the Kingdom: God the Father is Lord and cares for his creation. He leads man back to him.

Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians sees Christ reigning in heaven next to the Father (1:20) and renewing the earth through his Church (3:10). Paul contemplates God’s saving work in Jesus Christ. He hopes that the Ephesians will have a deeper appreciation of God’s blessing and that this will lead them to a more mature commitment to the Gospel (see Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament, 343).

One of the themes that the Letter to the Ephesians presents is that of the mystery of Jesus Christ. “This is first of all the mystery of Christ the Redeemer, whose violent death on the Cross was a vicarious sacrifice for the redemption of Israel and the Gentiles alike (1:7; 2:16; 5:2). Having died to restore peace between the Father and the human family, Christ now reigns supreme over all things at the right hand of the Father in heaven (1:20)” (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament, 343-344). God ultimately plans to bring everything under Christ’s headship “in the fullness of times” (1:10). 

In today’s first reading, Paul declares how the blessing of God through Jesus reaches both Jewish Christians and Gentiles. Both groups have received the gift of the Spirit as a foretaste of the good things to come (see P. Williamson,Ephesians, Baker Academic, 40). We are chosen in Christ to exist for the praise of God’s glory. The ultimate goal of creation is God’s glory and, through Christ, we share in that glory.

Readers may contact Fr Jason Mitchell at mitchelljason2011@gmail.com.

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Jason Mitchell

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