MARCH 2. LENT. WK. 2. TUES. MT. 23. 1-12
Addressing the people and his disciples Jesus said, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi.
‘You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.’
Christ is providing his followers an important lesson in this reading in that he is telling us that he is the only teacher whose voice we should be listening to.
Implicit in the message is that there are many teachers in the world who should not be listened to; - a truth that is very evident in today’s world?
This is why we should not only treasure the Wisdom Christ has left us in the Gospels and it’s teachings; - but these same Gospels deserve pondering on a daily basis.
The reason for this is, as sinners, we have this inbuilt inclination to put our own desires ahead of Christ’s teachings, and the prayerful reading of the Gospels counters this inclination!
In today’s “modern” world this trend, to satisfy our own desires, has been given a clear precedence over the teachings of Christ; - a trend that is clearly harmful!
Christ’s views, and the views of the world are clearly opposed to each other; - and each of us has to determine which teaching we are going to follow and see as the “Truth!”
This Gospel provides an example; - “The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The Scribes and Pharisees; - together with today’s world; - promote the seeking of greatness, “success” and “places of honour”; - whereas Christ rejected such values living a hidden life?
One of the saddest aspects of life in today’s world is that many Christians are trying to have a foot in both camps, putting great emphasis on both Christ’s values and the world’s values!
One example of the harm caused by such an approach to life is in the area of self-denial and / or suffering; - two of Christ’s fundamental teachings, strongly opposed by the world!
This is why we need to give greater attention to the treasure of the Gospels; - where Humility, Self-denial and Suffering are promoted; - in imitation of Jesus Christ; - the Son of God!