Daily Meditation: "Whoever makes himself great shall be humbled..."
Gospel text (Mt 23,1-12):
Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, "The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees sat on the seat of Moses. So you shall do and observe all they say, but do not do as they do, for they do not do what they say. They tie up heavy burdens and load them on the shoulders of the people, but they do not even raise a finger to move them. They do everything in order to be seen by people; so they wear very wide bands of the Law around their foreheads, and robes with large tassels. They enjoy the first place at feasts and reserved seats in the synagogues, and being greeted in the marketplace and being called “Master” by the people.
But you, do not let yourselves be called Master because you have only one Master, and all of you are brothers and sisters. Neither should you call anyone on earth Father, because you have only one Father, He who is in heaven. Nor should you be called leader, because Christ is the only leader for you. Let the greatest among you be the servant of all. For whoever makes himself great shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be made great".
"Whoever makes himself great shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be made great"
Today, once more, Jesus Christ addresses us a request for humility, an invitation to position us in the true place we belong to: "Do not let yourselves be called Master (…); neither should you call anyone on earth Father, (…) nor should you be called leader" (Mt 23:8-10). Before assuming all these titles, let us try to thank God, for we have received from him whatever we have.
As St. Paul says "For who makes you different? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" (1Co 4:7). So, when we are conscious of having correctly behaved, it would do us good to repeat: "We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty" (Lk 17:10).
Modern men are undergoing a regrettable amnesia: we live and behave as if we should have been the generators of life and creators of the world. In direct contrast, though, Aristotle is to be admired. In his natural theology he ignores the concept of “creation” (concept known in those times only by Divine Revelation), but, at least, he had quite clear in his mind this world depended on the Divinity (the “Incaused cause”). John Paul II appeals to us to remember what we owe to God: "Man must honour his Creator by offering him, in praise and thanksgiving, whatever he has received from Him. Man cannot lose this sense of duty, which only him may recognize, amongst all other earthly realities".
Besides, thinking of the everlasting life, our cooperation —He will not do anything without our permission nor without our effort!— consists of not disturbing the Holy Spirit's labour: to let God do it!; for saintliness is not “manufactured” by us, but granted by him, who is Master, Father and Leader. In any case, if we do believe we are and possess something, let us hasten to put it at the service of our fellow men: "Let the greatest among you be the servant of all" (Mt 23:11).
Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench
(Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Audio: Saturday 20th in Ordinary Time