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Home » Daily Gospel, Daily Readings, New Testament Writers

Whitewashed Tombs (Week XXI, Wednesday, OT I)

Submitted by on Wednesday, 24 August 2011No Comment

White Washed Cave Tomb

Today’s Readings

If today were not the feast of St. Bartholomew, the 21st Week of Wednesday, OT Year 1 would feature the following readings:

  • Reading I:  1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
  • Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 139
  • Gospel Reading: Matthew 23:27-32

In 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13, Paul reminds the Thessalonians how he worked among them, treating them as a "father" deals with his children. He also points to the Thessalonians’ faith as one of the things he is grateful for, since they received "his word not as words of men but what it truly is, the Word of God." Here is one of those instances where "Word of God" refers to the apostolic preaching.

In the selection from Matthew 23, the "Woes" that Jesus pronounces over the Pharisees is continued. Jesus calls them "whitewashed tombs" — clean on the outside but when touched makes one unclean. The "inside-outside" theme of the denunciations are continued here: the Pharisees look "clean" on the outside, but inside they are filled with "hypocrisy and lawlessness."

Jesus calls to their attention the tombs they build for prophets and holy men. His words anticipate what will happen to him later on when one of the Pharisees — Joseph of Arimathea — will lay his body in a new tomb. The words "finish off the work your fathers began" points to his own death on the cross — the climax of a series of acts reaching back to the first prophets killed by "the forefathers" in disobedience to God’s Word.

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
View in: NAB NIV KJV Vulg Greek
9For you remember, brethren, our labour and toil: working night and day, lest we should be chargeable to any of you, we preached among you the gospel of God.
10You are witnesses, and God also, how holily, and justly, and without blame, we have been to you that have believed:
11As you know in what manner, entreating and comforting you, (as a father doth his children,)
12We testified to every one of you, that you would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
13Therefore, we also give thanks to God without ceasing: because, that when you had received of us the word of the hearing of God, you received it not as the word of men, but (as it is indeed) the word of God, who worketh in you that have believed.
Matthew 23:27-32
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
27Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men's bones, and of all filthiness.
28So you also outwardly indeed appear to men just; but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
29Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; that build the sepulchres of the prophets, and adorn the monuments of the just,
30And say: If we had been in the days of our Fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
31Wherefore you are witnesses against yourselves, that you are the sons of them that killed the prophets.
32Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
View in: NAB NIV KJV Vulg Greek
9For you remember, brethren, our labour and toil: working night and day, lest we should be chargeable to any of you, we preached among you the gospel of God.
10You are witnesses, and God also, how holily, and justly, and without blame, we have been to you that have believed:
11As you know in what manner, entreating and comforting you, (as a father doth his children,)
12We testified to every one of you, that you would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
13Therefore, we also give thanks to God without ceasing: because, that when you had received of us the word of the hearing of God, you received it not as the word of men, but (as it is indeed) the word of God, who worketh in you that have believed.

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