In the Gospel reading (Luke 11:37-41), Jesus declares that the Pharisees were filled with plunder and evil. Some bibles translate this as “rapaciousness.” To be rapacious means to covet what others have, and to live on prey. In other words, the Pharisees preyed on others, plundering what did not belong to them.
What were they plundering? The root cause of their legalistic emphasis on proper rituals was their covetous greed for authority. The Pharisee enjoyed pointing out what Jesus did wrong. He was trying to make himself superior to Jesus. He was coveting Christ’s authority. So, to offer a cure for his greed, Jesus assigned almsgiving for a penance in case he wanted to become truly holy.
Jesus passionately condemns any self-righteous focus on the “wrong-doings” of others, because it puffs up the self while preying on the self-esteem of those who get scolded. Self-esteem is essential for being able to love one’s self, which is absolutely necessary for being able to love others unconditionally (rather than co-dependently).
When we get into arguments and insist that we are right and our opponents are wrong, we’re in a battle of winners and losers. Do we really want the other person to be a loser? Analyze your motives: Do you really want to win the argument to make your opponent a loser – so you can feel superior – OR for the sake of helping him or her?Read More »