2 Thessalonians 1:1-5,11-12
Matthew 23:13-22 


While some may like to use the optional readings for the Queenship of Mary, I think it is worth pondering the Gospel of the day. This Gospel challenges the image of we often have of Jesus, the peacemaker, the kind, considerate and loving person who bring unity and healing. In this passage of Matthew’s Gospel, we have an outspoken Jesus, who could be seen as angry, defiant, and certainly critical. Interestingly in the letter to the Thessalonians, Paul is conciliatory and gentle in his words. Often it is the other way around.

Jesus’ condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees prompted me to reflect on the times we are tempted to lash out at others, particularly those closest to us. Frustration, tiredness, and stress can cause us to respond to others in a way that is hurtful and unfair.

I would love to know the tone of voice that Jesus used in this discourse. Was he truly frustrated with the hypocrisy of those around him, was he gentle in pointing out the faults of the Pharisees. Has Matthew put a number of comments together that increases the strength of the tirade?  All worth pondering, but perhaps today, each of us could reflect on what causes us to judge others and check whether our comments are helpful, delivered in a positive way or purely the results of our own frustration and tiredness. Jesus gave his life for those he criticised as well as those who supported him. Can I do the same?

Margaret Bentley is a Salesian Sister and is currently the Academic Manager at the English Language Studies for Pastoral Ministry (ELSPM) begun by the Passionists in 2014 to enable their students to learn English before continuing to the Novitiate or theological studies.