The Hypocrisy of the Pharisees (Mt 23:1-12)
O Jesus, give me the heart of a servant.
Picture Jesus instructing His disciples in humility.
Jesus does not criticize the teaching of the scribes and Pharisees (although he alludes to moral rigorism) but he condemns their practices of seeking honor and gaining titles. Jesus wants his disciples to serve others and to take the last place.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Jesus told the crowds and his disciples, “The scribes and Pharisees sit on the chair of Moses. 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 all their works to be seen by men. They widen their phylacteries and wear huge tassels. They love first places 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 all 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.)
- By hypocrisy, a person professes a belief that they do not live out.
- Jesus despises this false devotion and provides many concrete examples.
- The Pharisees place burdens on people and offer no help.
- They seek praise of others and places of honor.
- They seek titles and superiority.
- They distance themselves and refuse to serve.
- Only Jesus Christ is your master.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- O Jesus, I will live my devout life in truth.
- I will place everyone in my heart and be a servant to all.
- I will love the other disciples and we will be a true sign to the world.
- I will seek no worldly glory, especially in my devout community.
- You, alone, are my Christ, my Master, my Lord.
- Do not let me ruin your work.
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.