Friday after Invocavit
Scripture: St. Luke 11:37-54 (NKJV)
37 And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and sat down to eat. 38 When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner.
39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. 40 Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you.
42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
43 “Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.
44 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them.”
45 Then one of the lawyers answered and said to Him, “Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also.”
46 And He said, “Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
47 “Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48 In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,’ 50 that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.
52 “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”
53 And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, 54 lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him.
Many years ago, there was a TV program called Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. As a child, I was fascinated by the program. The program went around the world filming animals in the wild. One of the episodes was filmed on the African savanna. They showed a pride of lions with one of the lions stalking its prey. It crouched down and waited for the moment to pounce.
Interestingly, today’s reading speaks of the scribes and pharisees “lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him.” They were looking for the opportune moment to pounce. They so hated Jesus they couldn’t wait to strike. But as we also know, the people who followed Jesus were numerous. As much as the scribes and pharisees wanted immediately to pounce, they also knew they had to wait for the right time and place to do so.
And strike they did, on the night in which our Lord was betrayed they arrested Jesus under the cloak of darkness when the multitudes where at home asleep. This gave the scribes and pharisees time to hatch their plan so that by the time the sun arose and the “cock crowed three times” even His own followers would deny Him.
Peter warns us: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV). Indeed, the devil and his henchmen are out to get you. How to remain “sober” and “vigilant” is the question. The answer is as clear as the Word. Though you can and do fail, He who is faithful will never fail you.
Prayer: Gracious Heavenly Father, protect me from the evil one and bring me safely to your heavenly kingdom. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.