Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, «The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees sat on the seat of Moses. So you shall do and observe all they say, but do not do as they do, for they do not do what they say. They tie up heavy burdens and load them on the shoulders of the people, but they do not even raise a finger to move them. They do everything in order to be seen by people; so they wear very wide bands of the Law around their foreheads, and robes with large tassels. They enjoy the first place at feasts and reserved seats in the synagogues, and being greeted in the marketplace and being called "Master" by the people.
»But you, do not let yourselves be called Master because you have only one Master, and all of you are brothers and sisters. Neither should you call anyone on earth Father, because you have only one Father, He who is in heaven. Nor should you be called leader, because Christ is the only leader for you. Let the greatest among you be the servant of all. For whoever makes himself great shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be made great».
Which part of the readings of today that I can propose to you all for the application? I simply propose to you, to inherit the behaviour desired and proposed in these readings and make them as ours, in a dignified way, as a true child of God. What is the behaviour desired? It is the dialogue with God. God enters in dialogue with us and asks us to reason out with Him. It is by a healthy dialogue with God alone can we find the inner joy and peace.
Jesus in today’s gospel will repeat this in a different manner, but elevates it, in its perfection. One ‘Father’ and one ‘Master’. Indirectly, He is asking us to get be configurated in Christ, by imitating Him in a radical way. He is our sole mater to listen and to be imitated in our actions.
Jesus is putting each and every one of us with a warning of imitating great personalities of the world leaders. Many of them don’t do what they preach. However, it is not wise to reject them, because they speak something good. It is important as the children of God, not reject any being. Even Christ entered into dialogue with devil. God gives every opportunity for the conversion. We should create this opportunities for everyone, particularly those who desires to be reconciled.
«You have only one Master, you have only one Father, Christ is the only leader for you»
Fr. Gerardo GÓMEZ
(Merlo, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Today, more than ever before, we have to work for our personal and collective salvation, as Saint Paul states, with regard and significance, for «now is the day of salvation» (2Co 6:2). Lent offers us a sacred chance, granted by our Father, so that with an attitude of profound conversion, we may invigorate our personal values, become conscious of our own blunders and repent from our sins, with the intention that our life becomes —through the action of the Holy Spirit— a fuller and riper life.
For our behavior to fit with that of our Lord Jesus, a gesture of humility is fundamental, as our Pope Benedict says: «I recognize myself for what I am, a frail creature, made of earth and destined to the earth, but also made in the image of God and destined to him».
In Jesus’ times there were many “models” that prayed and behaved just to be seen, to be revered: sheer fancy, gloomy characters, which could not stimulate either the growth or the development of their neighbors. Their attitude and behavior did not evidence the pathway to God: «Do not do as they do, for they do not do what they say» (Mt 23:3).
Modern society also displays an infinite amount of behavior models that lead to a vertiginous and wild sort of life that weakens our awareness of transcendence. Let us not allow these fake referents to make us lose sight of the true Master: «you have only one Master, you have only one Father, Christ is the only leader for you» (Mt 23:8-9-10).
Let us, therefore, take advantage of Lent to invigorate our own convictions as Jesus’ disciples. Let us try to have some sacred “desert” moments, when we may rediscover ourselves and we may meet the true Model and Master. And in front of those specific situations when we wonder how to react, let us ask ourselves: what would Jesus say? How would Jesus behave?