The Lord said: “Woe to you Pharisees!… You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.” (Luke 11:42).
Back before this pandemic, I would often go with friends to the movie theatre. I am forever fascinated by the movie previews they select. I always think that the folks in marketing select the previews based on who they think is about to watch the feature movie. I remember going to watch a movie, “The Martian” which was about a US astronaut who is left behind, stranded on Mars. It is a story of the heroic human condition in the face of adversity. It is a science fiction movie. It is many things. But the previews were almost all horror movies. Maybe it was the proximity to Halloween.
Not for all the tea in China would I watch a horror movie. Even at my age they would still induce nightmares. It has been 48 years and even thinking about “The Exorcist” can still send me into cold sweats. Freddy can stay on Elm Street with all the rest of his nightmarish fellow fiends.
One of the staples of horror movies are the graves, seen and unseen. Isn’t there always something scary and creepy reaching out from the grave? The ghostly hand seeking to pull you in, the creature of darkness that wants to eat your face, or some other horrific denizen of hell’s half acre bringing all manner of woe into your life. What comes out the graves in these movies are never for the benefit of the living or for the betterment of humankind. They just want to pull you into the misery, stench, and rotting wretchedness of life in the grave.
Same with the Pharisaic part of our inner life – that part that is dying spiritually within us. If we are not attentive the bitterness, disappointment, anger, sarcasm, gossip or other uncharitable intentions become like that hand which reaches out of the grave of our souls and begins to drag others into the darkness. Not a pretty picture. Such things do not just affect you – they reach out to affect you and all in relation to you.
Let us be mindful. And woe unto each of us unless we pay “attention to judgment and to love for God.” It is the sure antidote to the everlasting grave.