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».
The life of a baptised person is expected to be as something resemblance to the name he/she carries. Many of us fail to identify ourselves with this divine resemblance and origin. Thus we have the temptation to say that being human as a sign of weakness and prone to sin, than reclaiming our divine identity as our way of life. Once we realise the inheritance of this divine identity by our baptism, we have this obligation of living this in dignity and pride, with a humble heart, which searches the Lord of Lords, for an eternity.
Jesus is reminding us this identity and invites us to associate ourselves with His Father and hold on to Him throughout our lives. Thus we are by our divine nature called to follow His Father who is the source of our existence. Our configuration to Christ is the de facto consequence of our engagement towards the perfection of the Holiness of the Father, in which we participate by our Baptism. Par consequence, Jesus becomes our guide and director, the only person who can direct us towards His Father, who is capable of making us to participate in His Holiness.
Here by we realise that our humility is not to achieve something, rather an expression of our cognisance of the truth of our reality. To say it another way, before this loving and merciful Father, we can’t be otherwise than to be humble.
A Daily Quote for Lent:
Who are the proud? by Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"Who are the proud? Those who do not perform penance and confess their sins in order to be healed through humility. Who are the proud? Those who attribute to themselves the few good qualities they seem to possess and endeavor to diminish the mercy of God. Who are the proud? Those who, while attributing to God the good they accomplish, insult others for not performing such works and raise themselves above them." (Commentary on Psalm 93, 15)
«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?