LETTING A SERMON SPEAK TO ME
“’…Woe to you Pharisees! for you love the best seat in the synagogues and salutations in the market places. Woe to you! for you are like graves which are not seen, and men walk over them without knowing it.’ One of the lawyers answered him, ‘Teacher, in saying this you reproach us also.’ And he said, ‘Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.” (Lk 11: 43-46)
Good for this lawyer! He heard the actions of “others” being reproached in a sermon, but recognized that he himself was reproachable, in these same ways. And for this insight, the Lord blesses him with a clarification, as to how he and his lot (of lawyers) could do better.
Let me also recognize reproaches in Scripture, or in sermons, which “reproach us also.” Because that is why I am given to read or hear these words in the first place: Not so that I may dissect the shortcomings of “others” in a more precise manner, but so that I may see my own shortcomings more clearly, and do better. As we pray in the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem, “Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed are You, unto ages of ages. Amen.”