Saturday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
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Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe al things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example.”
They loved being popular. After his very successful trip to South Korea, a reporter asked Pope Francis what he thought of his immense popularity. The Pope responded by saying, “I keep in mind all my sins and mistakes. This helps me to stay humble.”
That’s something to think about.
Let’s not think too badly of those poor Pharisees and scribes. Hey, who wouldn’t want to be put in a position of honor or greeted by adoring fans, especially if undeserved? What’s wrong with having flowers thrown at your feet or knees bent to kiss your feet? Nothing…unless it goes to your head and you actually begin to believe it and don’t do anything to stop it.
We all love to be thought of as being more than we are. We all love to be loved more than we love and adored more than we adore. Even the Lord was loved and thought of and adored like a rock star. So what’s His beef?
Christ didn’t mind that the Pharisees and scribes sat in seats of honor; they deserved it. What disturbed Him was the fact that they rarely ever lifted a finger to help those who could use their help.
The beauty of Christ’s popularity is that it never went to His head. If anything, it all went straight to his heart, eyes, feet and hands. Christ saw the needs, met the needs and encouraged others to follow in His footsteps. He dared himself and others to sacrifice themselves for others. He first challenged himself and then others through His works of mercy and love. The honors and titles bestowed upon the Lord did not only come from above but from below, from the simple and unassuming people of the world that fell head over heels in love with Him and showered him with tears, sweat and blood.
The sin of the Pharisees and scribes was the following: they preached but did not practice what they preached. They tied up heavy burdens that were hard to carry (penances) and laid them on people’s shoulders (crosses?). They did not lift a finger to help.
They thought they were better than the rest of humanity. Something we all think, especially when push comes to shove.
Although the Lord spoke to vast crowds and to his disciples, His words spoke directly to each one, like “one having authority”; that is, like someone who knew each person personally and by heart. That’s a sermon that doesn’t come from a text book but from contact! That’s a good pastor who lives with His sheep. To this day, I find it amazing how I can read a passage from Scripture and relate to it. No wonder why Scripture is considered inspired.
Famous people work hard to make it to the top. Unfortunately, some of them forget to bring their humble beginnings with them.
As we all work towards being rock stars, let’s not forget who we are: sinners. That’s a great place to start and finish, since it keeps us mindful of who our savior is.
Without God I am worse than nothing (cf. Jn 15:5). I am a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode. (0)