20th Week in the Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Ezk 43:1-7ab
The angel led me to the gate which faces the east, and there I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. I heard a sound like the roaring of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. The vision was like that which I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and like that which I had seen by the river Chebar. I fell prone as the glory of the LORD entered the temple by way of the gate which faces the east, but spirit lifted me up and brought me to the inner court. And I saw that the temple was filled with the glory of the LORD. Then I heard someone speaking to me from the temple, while the man stood beside me. The voice said to me: Son of man, this is where my throne shall be, this is where I will set the soles of my feet; here I will dwell among the children of Israel forever.
Gospel: Mt 23:1-12
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 all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
AVOID PHARISAISM: Jesus condemns the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees. He exhorts the disciples and the other audience to avoid their religious style. The phrase they “have taken their seat on the chair of Moses” signifies that the scribes and Pharisees occupy the seat of honour in the synagogue. Jesus also criticizes their love of self-display and desire for honorific titles. Jesus referred this to Pharisaism. The scribes and the Pharisees emphasized the practice of the law and urged the people to follow them to become holy. They preached but did not practice. They gave importance to the outward performance of the rites but failed to exercise genuine piety. Pharisaism is a way of life for many people in the Church today. What God wants from the leadership is humility and service mindedness. Let us follow way of Jesus and shun Pharisaism.
Prayer: Lord help me to live according to your ways.
THE REWARD OF HUMILITY: Many times people build and commit to relationships based on the “what’s in it for me” attitude. However, we see Ruth sticking to her mother-in-law when she had nothing to offer. This can only happen with a humble person who is not looking for their benefit but for the benefit of another. At the house of Boaz we do not see any attitude of entitlement but humility of seeking to collect what is left behind. Her humility wins her favor and she becomes the owner of the field and a kin in the lineage of David and of Christ. Christ puts forth a major principle in the Gospel that the greatest must be the servant of all. Just like Ruth when we humble ourselves we will be rewarded with a place of honor.