Tuesday of week 2 of Lent

Ss Felicity and Perpetual

They were martyred at Carthage in 203 during the persecution of Septimius Severus. With so many martyrs of the third and fourth centuries we have to say “they were martyred but nothing else is known about them.” That is not the case here. We have a detailed contemporary account of their arrest, trial, sufferings and martyrdom, written partly by the saints themselves and partly by an eye-witness. Devotion to them spread rapidly and they are mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass.

Isaiah 1:10,16-20; Psalm 49(50):8-9,16-17,21,23; Matthew 23:1-12

The first reading today from Isaiah might well have been quoted by Jesus when conversing with the Pharisees and Temple Scribes. They would all have been very familiar with it - but had evidently failed to take its strong warnings about hypocrisy to heart.

The Gospel today sees Jesus in full flow raging against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. A common theme - and it is tempting to rage against the religious and political leaders of our day. But note how Jesus is expressing an anger of pain, not bitterness - in this the Gospel of Matthew He often uses the phrase 'Woe are you' or "Woe to them'. Jesus wants them to change their ways, not to condemn them. We should in Lent be similarly kind to ourselves, allowing our consciences formed by Jesus to lead us to change, not into condemnation of ourselves. That in itself can be another form of hypocrisy.


Posted in Daily Reflection.