Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
Book of the Prophet Isaiah 1:10, 16-20, Psalm 50, & Matthew 23:1-12
Are you a person who "practices what you preach?" A loaded question indeed.
In today's Gospel narrative of Saint Matthew, Jesus rebukes the scribes and Pharisees for their showy practices. In plain language, they want to be good role models for the Jewish people. Unfortunately, their good intentions are watered down because they seek respect and honor for themselves and not for the glory of God and His Holy Words. The scribes and Pharisees want the people to treat them as great teachers and rulers of the Law. However, the practice of their faith is a burden rather than a joy to those they are to serve. They enjoy the titles of "Rabbi, Master, and Father." Sadly, they are not aware of the harm they are forcing on their people.
Jesus Himself rejects these three honorary titles of "Rabbi, Master, and Father." Is Jesus against anyone having these titles, or is He directing this sharp rebuke toward the scribes and Pharisees? Jesus does not mean that our doctor shouldn't be called doctor, a judge called a judge, or a Catholic priest be called Father, and so forth. However, He is against Christians using titles for mere self-glory, arrogance, or selfishness.
In our daily lives, many tend to imitate the scribes and Pharisees. We are so overzealous in doing things we fail to realize that we are doing more damage than good to our neighbors. Here we must be disciplined and become humble of heart as Jesus teaches us. In his letter to the Philippians (2:5-11), Saint Paul reminds us, "He embraced the humiliation of our human condition, of the cross, for our redemption. No one as great as Christ has ever walked this earth or ever will. No one as humble as Christ has ever walked this earth or ever will."
Friends, a true disciple of Jesus means one who listens to learn. Our Lord shows us the way to the Father; the way of peace, joy, righteousness, holiness, and true happiness. He shows us the way by lowering Himself as a servant for our sake.
Question of the Day: How will you become an example of humility to others?
Prayer: Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)