The readings today highlight Jerusalem’s ruling class both in the time of the Prophets and in Our Lord’s time.
In the time of the Prophets, those leaders were painfully aware of the goodness and truth of the Prophets, but their self-interest was so complete, that it kept them from appreciating the holiness that was hitting them in their faces.
Feeling confident that God would not come down to rescue his Prophets, they felt that in the eyes of the people they could discredit the prophets by torturing them into ugliness.
In Our Lord’s time the self-centeredness of the rulers was so complete that it kept the goodness of Jesus from getting through to their hearts. They felt they had to dissuade the populous from realizing that Jesus was a great prophet. As well, they had to deal with their own tough guards who had been incapable of arresting Jesus, because, as they put it, “No man has ever spoken as this man speaks.”
In all honesty, instead of condemning those leaders, we must turn to ourselves. We must keep from letting our self interest blind us to the truth staring us in the face.
There was a Canadian Jesuit, Father Bernard Lonergan who reduced being a good person to three simple steps. One: We must fully open our eyes to what is going on. Two: We must discern what is right and wrong about what is going on. Three: We must do our best to promote the good and block the evil before us.