Faith Daily | 15 March 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 484
Remember, O Lord,
what you have wrought in us
and not what we deserve,
and, as you have called us to your service,
make us worthy of our calling;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 23: 1-12
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 4They 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. 5They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. 6They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, 7and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. 8But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. 9And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Peter Brady
Today's passage marks the start in Matthew's Gospel of the 'Woes of the Pharisees' where Jesus outlines his criticisms of the Pharisees (and scribes). Here he sets the scene by accusing them of hypocrisy and lack of humility before God. No doubt this would have caused an immense stir. After all, the Pharisees were good people who prayed, lived piously according to the Law and they gave tithes. Jesus even recognises them as successors to Moses and tells his listeners to follow their teachings.
Critically though, he specifically says not to follow their example. Jesus knows the Pharisees do not truly understand God. They allowed themselves to believe they were more worthy and their lack of love leads them to use their authority to condemn others rather than to save. Instead Jesus says everyone is equal before God and urges his follows to serve - to save - rather than condemn.
So what of us? Do we condemn when we should help? Are the motives for our actions always appropriate? Do we do things for the sake of being seen by others instead of for the sake of others? Do we see hypocrisy in others but not ourselves? Or do we try and live up to Jesus' teachings and be servant, disciple or humble follower? Greatness is seen in love, in being willing to serve the needs of others.
Lord our God, through the Spirit grant us community with you, we pray. Help us to be humble servants of the needy, just as you are. May your goodness and your grace be in our hearts to help us go your way, rather than ours. Above all, 'may we see you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly'. Amen.