WEEK TWENTY – SATURDAY, AUGUST 21, 2021 – THE HYPOCRISY OF THE PHARISEES: (MT: 23:1-12)

Prayer:

O Jesus, give me the heart of a servant. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus instructing His disciples in humility.

Context:

Jesus does not criticize the teaching of the scribes and Pharisees (although he alludes to moral rigorism). Instead, he attacks their practices of seeking honor and gaining title. This conflicts with Jesus’ teaching that disciples must serve others and take the last place.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus told the crowds and his disciples, “The scribes and Pharisees have succeeded Moses as teacher. Therefore, do all that they say, but do not follow their example. For they bind heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they do not lift a finger to help them. 

They do their works to be seen by men. They widen their phylacteries and wear huge tassels. They love first place at feasts and first place in the synagogues. They like to be greeted in the marketplace and be called ‘Rabbi’. You are to avoid the title ‘Rabbi’. Only one among you is the teacher. The rest are learners. 

Do not call anyone on earth ‘Father’. Only one is your Father, the One in heaven. Avoid being called ‘Teacher’. Only one is your teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you is the one who serves the rest. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” 

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. A hypocrite wants to be seen as good without being good. 
  2. Jesus despises this false devotion. 
  3. He does not want the disciples to seek the praise of others. 
  4. He does not want them to seek honors. 
  5. He wants them to love each other as equals. 
  6. He expects them to serve and to take the lowest place. 
  7. For the disciples, Jesus, alone is the Master and Messiah. 

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  • O Jesus, I will live my devout life in truth. 
  • Remove everything that is false in me. 
  • Jesus, place everyone in my heart. I will be a servant to all. 
  • Make me your disciple and I will be a true sign to the world. 
  • I will seek no worldly praise only your glory. 
  • You alone, are my Christ, my Master, my Lord. 
  • Do not let me ruin your work by my pride. 

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

+ Today, I will serve others. 

+ I will avoid all ostentatious behavior so the gospel can spread. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

The greatest among you must be the servant of all.