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».
We are generally ambitious, some of them are just and good, and we look for models in life. The great saints and spiritual guides have been our human models for centuries. Today’s gospel invites us to look further and not be limited with visible models which are available in the history and contemporary world. Jesus is warning us to fall prey to such models, good in their preaching, and are not credible ones in their personal life.
Thus, he presents to us the heavenly Father and His own life as model to imitate. In Jesus we find a God of mercy and compassion. Jesus is inviting us to see the Father in Him, and reach to the Father through Him.
The first thing that we are called is, to be humble in our thinking and being. Find the goodness that God has showed on us, and be grateful to God for all that we have received. If we see what is good in us, and fail to acknowledge the wonders that the Lord does in our personal life, we may end up to be proud and expect others to honor us and glorify us, just like the pharisees and the teachers of the law were doing.
To avoid such dangers, Jesus is asking us to look up and see how God is loving us in Jesus and make God’s love as a model to live our daily life. In the generous love of God, our forgiveness is guaranteed, how great and big be our sins. The more we fix our attention in responding to the love and mercy of God (by taking care of the needy and poor in the world), the better will be our human relationship, and in consequence, we will acquire inner peace and serenity.
Action of the day: imitate one divine act today.
«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?