Faith Daily | 20 August 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p570
you have given your only son
to be for us both a sacrifice for sin
and also an example of godly life:
give us grace that we may always thankfully receive
the benefits of his sacrifice,
and also daily endeavour
to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life;
through the same 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: Hilary Bell
Jesus is fiercely critical of the pride and hypocrisy of the Scribes and the Pharisees. While they wear the trappings of piety to remind themselves and others of the importance of keeping the Laws of Moses, Jesus says they do not practise what they teach. The commandments to love God and to have no other gods nor to make graven images are subverted by humans. The Scribes and Pharisees draw attention to themselves. Self righteousness and self importance, human ego, come between them and God. Being seen as “religious “ and being esteemed by others are most important to them. In contrast we recognise the humility, love and service which Jesus epitomises and for which he urges his disciples to strive. Jesus asserts that our most important relationship is with God our Father.
So I reflect on this passage today in a society where appearance and image are paramount.
Am I a good judge of “character?” Who are the people I admire and respect and whose example I follow? How much am I influenced by reputation and status, qualifications and titles? Can I be deceived by appearances and taken in by convincing speeches? How do I discern honesty, justice and a real servant attitude in others?
I examine too my own self image and how I want to be seen by others, the importance I attach to my reputation, my sources of pride. How do I measure up in humility and service? Is my relationship with God at the centre of my life?
Forgive me when I allow self worth to become pride and self exalting.
God of Grace,
Help me to learn gratitude and humility.
Let me be open to opportunities for compassion and service.