Gospel Reflection based on Luke 11:42-46

In many of the Gospel readings, Jesus uses words that are inspiring and inviting like, “Come to me all who are burdened, and you shall find rest” (Matthew 11:28). However, in this scripture passage, Jesus strikes a different tone and delivers a very strong message to those who burden others in the name of religion and misrepresent holiness.

Four distinct times in this Gospel reading, Jesus uses the phrase, “woe to you.” This passage grabs your attention and reminds you of the seriousness of what is at stake if we reject His teaching as He speaks to the scholars and Pharisees. These rules about which Jesus is concerned to emphasize the external practice of religion rather than the inner change required to follow Christ; For Christianity is a faith that reforms our hearts and sets them on fire for the love of Christ.  The Gospel shares how the Pharisees and scholars are upset by Christ’s boldness and desire to share the truth. His words cut to the truth of the matter very directly since Jesus knows what is at stake if they do reject His ways – their salvation. May this Gospel speak to our hearts and remind us of how important it is to allow Christ into our hearts and allow us to have a deep and personal relationship with Him. Jesus is offering us salvation, a state of eternity that we can not even comprehend. But we know that it is essential that our religious faith is true and integrated into our whole personhood, is sincere and life-changing from the inside out, that it is focused on helping others, not casting burdens on them and drawing unworthy attention to ourselves.

Avoiding these woes is the key to experiencing the blessing of our Lord.