And now, my brothers and sisters, this is just the beginning of Chapter 23, and as you can tell, it’s a very harsh judgment on the part of Jesus against the religious leaders — the scribes, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians — all of them. And as you go through the chapter, it becomes even more critical and harsh.
Just for example, just a little bit further on, Jesus says, “Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You shut the door to the reign of God in people’s faces. You, yourselves, do not enter, nor do you allow others to do. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You devour women and widows’ houses, even while for a pretense, you make all in prayers.”
What Jesus is doing is making very critical, harsh judgments about the religious leaders of his day. Now, this Gospel and especially this Chapter 23, what you heard earlier in the first lesson from the Book of Malachi, and other prophets, we discover that Jesus, as the other prophets do, is making some very harsh judgments about the leadership of the religious community of his time….