Tuesday of the Second
Week of Lent
March 6, 2012
Listen to podcast
Matthew 23: 1-12
Jesus said to the crowds
and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit
on Moses´ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and
follow it; but do not do as they do, for
they do not practice what they teach. They tie up
heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the
shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift
a finger to move them. They do all their deeds
to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries
broad and their fringes long. They love to have the
place of honor at banquets and the best seats in
the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the
marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you
are not to be called rabbi, for you have one
teacher, and you are all students. And call no one
your father on earth, for you have one Father-- the
one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors,
for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among
you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will
be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, though I cannot
see you with my eyes, I believe you are present
to me now, in my innermost being, and that you
know me far better than I know myself. I also
know that you love me much more than I love
my own self. Thank you for loving and watching over
me, though I don’t deserve your love. In return, I
offer you my sorrow for my sins and my hopes
to love you more each day.
Petition: Lord, help me to be humble like you.
1. Disinterested Charity: How do we
know that we are truly working for God? When we
are willing to work for him for nothing. God calls
some missionaries to work with the poor, who can repay
their benefactors with nothing more than smiles and gratitude. Other
missionaries work with the humanly and spiritually poor, who neither
recognize their neediness nor value the work of Christian evangelization.
Parents put in long, hidden hours of service to sustain
their families, often without receiving a simple “thank you.” Christ
shunned human recognition not just with his words: when the
people wanted to make him king, he hurried off to
proclaim the Good News somewhere else. Do I value my
charity towards others more than I value any position of
authority? Do I seek the praise of others for the
good deeds I do?
Misunderstandings: Christian authority comes not from titles or positions, but
from our faithful adherence to Christ’s commandment of charity and
service. We should welcome misunderstanding in the face of our
doing good. It means that God is inviting us to
attain a higher level in our charity and Christian leadership.
With his fidelity, Christ shows us that we have every
reason to believe in the fulfillment of God’s promise. The
book of Wisdom shows us that misunderstanding is part of
God’s plan: “He calls blest the destiny of the just
and boasts that God is his Father. Let us see
whether his words be true; let us find out what
will happen to him. For if the just one be
the son of God, he will defend him and deliver
him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and
torture let us put him to the test that we
may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according
to his own words, God will take care of him”
(Wisdom 2: 16-20).
3. The Cross
is Our Claim to Glory: “And when I am lifted
up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself”
(John 12:32). Christ did not lift himself up for others
to notice; he refused to exalt himself. He refused the
places of honor at banquets (he sat with the tax
collectors), seats of honor in synagogues (they threw him out),
and special greetings in marketplaces (“Why do you call me
good? No one is good but God alone” (Mark 10:18)).
His silence infuriated Pilate: “Do you not speak to me?
Do you not know that I have power to release
you and I have power to crucify you?” (John 19:10).
They asked Christ to exalt himself by coming down from
the cross, and he refused. This is the real test
of our trust and love: trusting that God really cares
for us when he allows us to be crucified for
being faithful, and loving that crucifixion by embracing it willingly
for the good of souls.
with Christ: Dear Jesus, I know I will never be
able to be as humble as you, but I want
to desire and work for the greatest degree of humility
possible for me. I want to leave behind the pride
that has damaged so many areas of my life. I
want to have your example always fresh in my mind
so that I can keep advancing—not in order to glory
in my own perfection, but in order to please you
and do your will.
will think of the relationship in my life where my
pride is most destructive. I will take concrete steps to
deal with that person more positively and humbly.