It’s the Tone

News: Commentary
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  February 26, 2018   

Christ: "Woe to you scribes and Pharisees ... you are like to whited sepulchres"

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The saints spoke with startling clarity after the manner of Christ who would not be considered very pastoral by today's standards.

Lukewarm clergy, who spoke in a tepid manner and hid the truth from their flock, were seen as a punishment from God by St. John Eudes, a zealous French priest from the 17th century. In his book titled, The Priest: His Dignity and Obligations, St. Eudes wrote:

The most evident mark of God's anger and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world are manifested when He permits His people to fall into the hands of clerics who are priests more in name than in deed ... Instead of leading their people to God, they drag Christian souls into Hell in their train.

The tone of St. Eudes, like that of many other saints, was quite similar to the tone used by Christ, who never minced words. Speaking to the Pharisees in what some might consider a harsh manner, Our Lord in Matthew 23:27 exhorted: "Woe 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."


One instance when Christ's tone and actions were not so tolerant and uplifting by modern standards was when He cast out the moneychangers from the temple. Mark 11:15–17 reads:

And they came to Jerusalem. And when He was entered into the temple, He began to cast out them that sold and bought in the Temple and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers and the chairs of them that sold doves. And He suffered not that any man should carry a vessel through the Temple; And He taught, saying to them: Is it not written, My house shall be called the house of prayer to all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves

The cases when Christ spoke with a strong tone are many. Another example is Matthew 15:8-9 when Christ demanded that faith be put into action: "This people honors me with their lips: but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men."

Watch the panel discuss the clarity and zeal of the saints in The Download—It's the Tone.


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