Matthew 23:13-15 NRSVue

13“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in you stop them., 15Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

Some thoughts on this scripture

Lord, you were not always meek and mild. When you saw hypocrisy, your words cut like a knife through butter. They applied not just to the Pharisees of your time, nor just to the rabbinic school of Jamnia which Matthew was attacking. They reach out to warn all who dare to preach to others. They challenge me: does my life reflect what I profess?

These are difficult words to pray over but they have something to do with Jesus' respect for God his Father and respect for the truth. The sanctuary and the altar are sacred only because of God who dwells in both.