March 18, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

Matthew 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.”

Reflection (Sem. Ivan Joseph Feniquito):

     In the Gospel for today, Jesus rebukes the Scribes and Pharisees because of the act of injustice towards the ordinary people. He identifies the principal vices and and corrupt practices of the Jewish religious leaders at that time. Some of their corrupt practices are:

     First, the Pharisees and Scribes have a function of educating the people in the Law of Moses. It was Moses who passed the Law received from God. It was their responsibility to teach the people and they must be a good example in practicing the Law, but the sad story is that they did not practice it. And second, they wear phylacteries (a belt or band carrying quotations from the Holy Scripture which the Jews put it in their arms or foreheads). Using the phylacteries would mark them as more religious than others.

     In present times, we may experience or observe these practices inside and outside the Church, and the sad story is that history repeats itself because there are church workers who live like a Pharisee or a Scribe, they boast their religious affiliations. The entitlement and the power become the source of competitions in the parish and different church organizations.

     The Gospel for today invites me to continue in studying and learning in the seminary so that my learning will be useful in the near future. I believe that I am called to share my experiences and wisdom about the Church and Christian faith to the people that I will meet. It is also a good reminder for me to live a genuine Christian life – practicing the laws, commandments and the messages of God. I will live out my faith just like St. Cyril of Jerusalem whom today we celebrate his memorial. He became the bishop of Jerusalem and a father and doctor of the Church. He is a good example of a true pastor who teaches, educates, and shares his wisdom and knowledge about Christian faith. And more importantly, he uses the wisdom and faith as a way of life.

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