November 5, 2017
31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
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. Eldrick S. Peña)
In the Gospel, Jesus denounces the Pharisees. The Pharisees were people of authority during Jesus’ time and as such, they developed this feeling of entitlement and power because of the influence they wield in Jewish society.
They shifted from strict adherence of the law, then to extreme legalism and eventually, to hypocrisy and entitlement.They exhibited and practiced a wrong notion of leadership. For true leadership entails being a servant to all. This is the kind of leadership that Jesus exemplified – a leadership that dies to self in order to give life to others; a leadership that is founded on humility and not on self-love and worship.
In our present day context, there are many times when situation would require us to rise into positions of leadership. In such instances, may we not equate leadership with entitlement; that we deserve / not deserve so and so treatment; that we are the best in the community and nobody is supposed to challenge us. If such would be our notion of leadership, then we are no different with the Pharisees in the Gospel whom Jesus denounces. Let us always make the love of Jesus crucified our model of servant-leadership. We come to serve, not to be served.