By Letitia M Peyton
“He who is greatest among you shall be your servant;
whoever exalts himself will be humbled,
and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” ~Matthew 23:11-12
In our complex and ever-changing world, many of us grapple with feelings of uneasiness towards the Pope, specific priests, or the hierarchical actions within the Church. In these trying days, we must turn our attention to scripture. While Jesus’ words of rebuke were aimed initially at the Pharisees and scribes, it’s important to recognize that these teachings hold profound and enduring lessons for each of us.
Gospel of Matthew: The Scribes and Pharisees
In today’s Gospel from Matthew, Jesus addresses a diverse congregation of followers and his devoted disciples. He begins by acknowledging the authority vested in the scribes and Pharisees, who occupied the seat of Moses and were entrusted with the community’s spiritual leadership. Jesus instructs his audience to heed the teachings and guidance provided by these religious leaders. However, he delivers a vital and timely message about their actions. While these scribes and Pharisees were knowledgeable and influential, Jesus criticizes their failure to live up to the ideals they preached. Their actions did not align with their words, and a quest for titles, recognition, and status often tainted their priorities, much like we are witnessing today.
While Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and scribes for their hypocrisy, it is paramount to understand that his teachings were not confined to them alone. They extend to all of us who seek spiritual guidance and are committed to living a life aligned with the teachings of Christ. The core message of Jesus’ teachings in this passage transcends time and remains profoundly relevant in today’s challenging times. It emphasizes the significance of humility, selflessness, and the pursuit of genuine faith as the hallmarks of authentic Christian leadership. According to Christ, the true path to spiritual leadership is marked by humility and service, contrasting with the quest for titles or recognition.
In You, Lord, I Have Found My Peace
The sentiments expressed in Psalm 131 complement the lessons from the Gospel. The psalmist’s humble acknowledgment of their limited ambitions and unwavering trust in the Lord beautifully echoes the importance of humility and faith, especially in moments of uncertainty and unrest within the Church.
Amid discontentment and disagreement within the Church hierarchy, these scriptures guide our conduct. Emulating Christ’s call for humility, selfless service, and unwavering faith provides a pathway through these challenging times. They serve as a potent reminder that, above all else, our allegiance should be to God, ensuring that our actions and attitudes align with the enduring teachings of Christ.
As we navigate the present complex landscape of the Catholic Church, these scriptures remind us that while Jesus addressed the failings of the Pharisees and scribes, his lessons are intended for all of us. By adhering to the essence of these teachings, we can navigate the challenging times we face, ensuring that our actions and attitudes align with the teachings of Christ. In a world filled with uncertainties and disagreements, this message of humility, trust in God, and unwavering faith remain a steadfast source of guidance for our spiritual journey.
Dear Lord, never let me tire of endlessly seeking your will for me, even amid the chaos of the world around me. I pray you pour your graces on me to give me the perseverance to seek you, especially when I feel beaten down by those around me.
Call to Action
Sometimes, we fear personal conversations with God. We look for a prayer written by someone else to express our thoughts. This week, I will have that deep conversation with God in my own words, saying to Him all my thoughts. In my own words, I will get personal with Him as my Father.
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