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Archive for November 19th, 2022


Matthew 23Denunciation

Saturday, November 19, 2022tassels

How many of us like to widen our phylacteries and lengthen our tassels? The footnotes for this chapter are extensive in the NAB and they are worth reading. This is the list of Christ’s woes as recorded by Matthew and these words have the feel of prophecy. Hypocrisy, lack of integrity when our words and actions do not match. This is what Jesus warns us about.

What do we do when the ugly green monster rears its head? When jealousy strikes, as it always does, what is our reflex? Do we allow ourselves to succumb to the temptation of taking credit even when it is due? Do we put the emotion which overtakes us in its proper place and convert it to humility?

Verses 37 to 39 are Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem, the city which ought to serve as a beacon to all, now drags her skirts in the mire as the prophets foretold. Jesus himself cannot sway these leaders. God’s own word cannot get their attention. The final woe defines Jesus’ audience as murderers of prophets, of the holy ones. This is scary stuff.  Chapter 24 follows with the foretelling of the destruction of the temple which actually occurred in 70 C.E. This event was on the horizon and yet they did not listen. Do we? How far do we have to go until God finally gets our attention? Are we this dense? We pray not.

And so we go to Jesus, hoping to learn how to avoid our own denunciation.

phylacteriesGenerous and faithful Jesus, may we narrow our phylacteries and shorten the tassels on our shawls. May we learn humility from your stories, and mercy from your actions. We ask this in your name. Amen.


To learn more about tassels and phylacteries, click on the lower image.

A favorite from January 28, 2008.

Images from: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/tzitzit/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uh6hLqP-QPY

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