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Expert on everyone’s life but your own?


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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 10/12/22

Jesus addresses the Pharisees and doctors of the law ... but he's talking to us as well.

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

Today’s Gospel reading suggests an effective summary of how to understand Jesus’ differing conflicts with the Pharisees and with the doctors of the Law.

The Pharisees spend their time following patterns of behavior that save appearances but sometimes hide the malice of their hearts. They are formally unassailable but tend toward duplicity of heart. It would be wrong to generalize and say that all of them are like this, but behind this category of people is the whole temptation we experience in our lives to be one way outwardly and another way inwardly.

Jesus is addressing them, but today he is speaking to us as well, saying,

“Woe to you who follow moral and religious codes of behavior but then are not truly just and never really love anyone. Woe to you who seek seats of honor but carry death in your heart.”

The second category, the doctors of the Law, represent all those who are always experts regarding the lives of others, being rigidly demanding with others but lenient with themselves:

“Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.” 

In fact, the only things we can tell others are what we live ourselves, because the world needs witnesses, not supposed teachers.


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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