When reformist become terrorist – Monday, 23rd week in ordinary time – Luke 6:6-11

This is the third of the six stories concerned with Jesus’ liberating action on the Sabbath and is linked to the second incident which takes place just before the reading of today in which Jesus’ disciples pluck ears of corn and eat it.

Even though the pericope of today ends with the words “they (the Pharisees) were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus” ( verse 11) there is no evidence in Luke’s Gospel to show that the Pharisees were responsible in plotting the death of Jesus. Chapter 19 is the last time we hear of the Pharisees after which they disappear from Luke’s Gospel entirely.

So this text must be placed in our understanding of who the Pharisees were and what is the point being communicated in this passage or we might end up misdirecting our anger at the Pharisees, making them as we have, our favourite whipping boys.

In the 400 years before the coming of John the Baptist, the silence of the prophetic voice was filled by a group of zealous people known as the Pharisees or ‘separated ones’ . Primarily their aim was to protect the people of Israel from being corrupted by the process of Hellenization (embracing Greek culture and language). In short they could well be called reformist for they desired a true change in the faith of Israel which had now been corrupted.

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