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Homilies Navchetana is an initiative of Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India. We have been sending the Sunday and daily homilies last four years. We are grateful to you for your cooperation and encouraging comments. Navchetana is committed to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through modern media and performing arts. Through our Web TV, audio and video productions and stage programmes we take the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. Make a donation and be a part of this noble mission.

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Homilies :: Latin Rite
Thursday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time Download This Homily

Rom 3: 21-30a

Ps 129: 1-2, 3-4, 5-7a

Lk 11: 47-54


Indictment of Scribes and Pharisees


Jesus’ denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees, the Jewish religious leaders, is recorded in the three Synoptic Gospels. In fact Jesus’ anger and anguish are reflected in this passage. If leadership becomes corrupt and disoriented that society is doomed to destruction. Hence Jesus spoke with prophetic courage without being bothered about the consequences. The consequence of criticizing the leadership is often very dangerous to the person who criticizes.


I used to give an exercise to the students while taking class on Religiosity and Spirituality. The students were asked to read the passage where Jesus criticizes the Scribes and Pharisees and write down the reasons for Jesus’ condemning them. They were also asked to write the fruits of a spiritual person. The major reasons for Jesus rebuking the Scribes and Pharisees are: 1) Lack of integrity, 2) Exhibitionism, 3) Ritualism, 4) Legalism, 5) Exploitation of the poor, 6) Demand for recognition and respect, 7) Scandal to others, 8) Not allowing people to become mature and 9) Neglect of mercy, justice and faith.


 The fruits of a spiritual person are 1) Sensitivity to other persons and nature, 2) Self acceptance and accepting one’s own mistakes, 3) Readiness to forgive and get reconciled, 4) Being honest and just, 5) Positive and creative thinking, 6) Recognizing the uniqueness of others, 7) Respecting pluralism, 8) Willingness to take risks and  9) Happy and contended.


After doing the exercise I used to ask the students whether the Scribes and Pharisees were religious. The answer was invariably ‘Yes’. The Scribes and Pharisees were highly religious; but they were not spiritual. In fact Jesus was criticizing them for not being spiritual.


India has been witnessing resurgence in religiosity especially during the last two decades in the form of ever increasing number of worship centres, pilgrimages, religious processions, erecting huge statues, religious discourses, retreat centres and ashrams, god men and women, devotions etc. At the same time there has been increase in crimes, particularly against women, corruption, consumption of alcohol, drug addiction, suicide etc. The data released by National Crime Records Burau show that the crime graph is rising. This phenomenon of coexistence of increasing crimes and increasing religiosity indicates that religiosity is not bringing about transformation in the people. Sometimes people indulge in crimes after performing religious rituals.


By condemning the Scribes and Pharisees Jesus was in fact condemning the religiosity that does not make people spiritual. We do not find in the Gospels Jesus practicing any religious rituals. The contents of his teachings were attitudes, values, behavior and relationships. The Sermon on the Mount reflects the spirituality of Jesus.


As human beings and members of society the followers of Jesus may have to follow certain religious practices. But these religious practices should help them to become spiritual and bring about positive changes in them by practicing the values given in the Sermon on the Mount. Blind following of rituals and traditions is slavery. As Jesus had the courage to take on the religious leaders of his time, the followers of Jesus should have the courage to question the rituals and religious practices that enslave human beings and destroys human dignity and creativity.


Fr Jacob Peenickaparambil CMI


Homilies Navchetana Apps, the first of its kind is produced and published by Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India to assist the clergy to preach the World of God and also as a handy spiritual resource for the people of God to reflect on the daily spiritual passages at their convenience. You can download this on your Android phone from Google play and you can see the Gospel reflections of the whole year. The size of this app is just 2.5 MB. We welcome your suggestions and contributions to server you better.

May God Bless you

Fr. James M L CMI

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Homilies Navchetana is an initiative of Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India. We have been sending the Sunday and daily homilies last four years. We are grateful to you for your cooperation and encouraging comments. Navchetana is committed to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through modern media and performing arts. Through our Web TV, audio and video productions and stage programmes we take the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. Make a donation and be a part of this noble mission.