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Do your virtues go deeper than that of the scribes and the Pharisees?

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  • Description: Our Lord had said He did not come abolish the law or the Prophets, but rather to fulfil them. And the fulfilling of the law consists not only in keeping each and every part and element of it but also as Our Lord goes on to show now, the spirit of it. It is also necessary that each person observes the law in its detail. That is not just looking at what we’re not to do, but also what we are to do. The Lord says particularly if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and the Pharisees you will never get in to the kingdom of Heaven. He does not deny that the Pharisees and the scribes had some degree of virtue – they did because they were concerned about the observance of the law. But it was a case of lip service. They were interested only in observing the details, without any love and certainly without any desire of improvement in there lives. The disciples were criticised by the Pharisees for eating, picking and shelling corn because it appeared to break the Sabbath. And it did break the Sabbath, but Our Lord pointed out to them that the spirit of the law was concerned with venerating the Sabbath, that is increasing love for God. And the Commandment about picking and so on was to insure that this was not done for profit, but it could be done to save life, in particular to alleviate hunger. But what is disturbing or should be disturbing for us is the Lord says, ‘If our virtues are not greater, deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, we will not get in to the kingdom.’ He goes on to innumerate the various commandments and He begins with the greatest in the second tablet. Basically love of neighbour… For Fr. Linus’ complete homily please listen to the Audio.

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