Posted 八月 27, 2013 by FLL Editorial Team in
 
 

經師和法利塞人的傲慢

耶穌對民眾說:「禍哉,你們經師和法利塞假善人!因為你們好像用石灰刷白的墳墓:外面看來倒華麗,裏面卻滿是死者的骨骸和各樣的污穢。同樣,你們外面叫人看來倒像義人,你們裏面卻滿是虛偽和不法。

禍哉,你們經師和法利塞假善人!因為你們修建先知的墳,裝飾義人的墓,且說:假使我們生在我們祖先的時日,我們決不是他們流先知血的夥伴;這樣你們自己作證,你們是那些殘殺先知者的子孫了。你們就來補足你們祖先作惡的尺度吧!」
瑪竇福音 23:27-32

800-Pharisees今天的福音記載了耶穌指責經師和法利塞人「七禍哉」中的第六和第七禍哉。

耶穌說:「你們好像用石灰刷白的墳墓:外面看來華麗,裏面卻滿是死者的骨骸和各樣的污穢。」由於地勢的關係,在以色列是比較難開發墳墓,當時的人會把屍體安放在山洞或從岩石鑿出的洞內,並用一塊大石堵住洞口。當屍體腐化到只剩下骨頭時,人們會把骨頭放在骨罐內,讓出墳墓給另一家人使用。按猶太人的法律,踏入墓地會使人不潔,不潔的人不能進入聖殿。為了方便辨認那個山洞內有屍體,人們會把葬了人的山洞刷白,以免人誤闖墳墓而變得不潔。

耶穌如此形容經師和法利塞人,因為他們往往忙於營造出一個完美的外表,連最微小的細節都顧慮到,但他們的心卻被傲慢和仇恨佔據,有如外表潔白但內藏腐屍的墳墓一樣。耶穌也說過一個比喻,提及法利塞人和稅吏在聖殿祈禱,法利塞人自以為優勝。法利塞人最大的罪過是他們的盲目,他們完全看不見自己的真正面貌。我們所有人都有可能犯同樣錯誤。

耶穌也譴責他們為修建先知和義人的墳墓而自豪,並自以為他們決不會像他們的祖先般謀害先知。事實上,經師和法利塞人正在計劃殺害先知中的先知——耶穌。在今天福音的最後一句,耶穌這樣預告將要發生在祂身上的事:「那麼,你們就來完成你們祖先的勾當吧!」

當我們愈對信仰認真,愈希望我們的行為能乎合信仰的要求,我們就愈容易墮入同一個陷阱,把自己看得比我們看不起,甚至我們攻擊的人為高。願天主聖神光照我們,千萬別墮下這陷阱。

Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”
Matthew 23:27-32

In today’s Gospel, we read the last two of the seven “Woes” which Jesus said of the Pharisees and scribes.

Jesus said: “You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.” Given Israel’s rocky landscape, graves were not easy to dig. Instead, bodies were frequently laid to rest in caves or tombs carved into the rock, which could be sealed with a big stone at the entrance. When only the bones were left the family removed them and put them in an ossuary, leaving the tomb to be used by another family. According to Jewish law, stepping into cave with a body would make them religiously unclean, and be denied access to the Temple. People who are unclean would As a result, the tombs and caves were painted white so that they would stand out. This way people can avoid stepping into a tomb inadvertently.

Jesus used this analogy to describe the Pharisees and scribes because they put on an external show of religious perfection down to the tiniest detail but inside their hearts and minds were full of pride and hatred and contempt for their fellow-men. It was epitomised in the story that Jesus told of the Pharisee and the tax collector who went to the temple to pray. “I thank you, Lord, that I am not like the rest of men, extortionists, unjust, adulterers or even like this tax collector here,” was the sanctimonious prayer of the Pharisee. The greatest sin of the pharisaical is their sheer blindness, the inability to see themselves for what they really are. It can happen to any of us.

Jesus also condemned them for their pride over the tombs they have built in memory of the prophets and other holy people. They congratulate themselves that, if they had been present, they would never have partaken in the actions which brought persecution and death to the prophets. Yet here is Jesus, the prophet of all prophets, whom they are preparing to kill. In the last verse of our reading, Jesus tells them to go ahead and complete the murdering of the prophets, referring to what is going to happen to himself.

The more committed we are to our Christian faith and to the behaviour that it expects, the greater the danger that we, too, can fall into the same trap and see ourselves on a higher level than others whose behaviour we deplore and perhaps even attack. May the light of the Holy Spirit shine upon us, to save us from falling into this trap.

References:
Commentary on Matthew 23:27-32
Is Cleanliness Next To Godliness


FLL Editorial Team