Servitude Earns Respect

'Lost and Found' by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.
“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.

November 20, 2022

Gospel – March 10, 2020 – 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.”

I called my friend, Sharon, an angel not because she felt she deserved it but rather her attitude of servitude earned it.

Today’s Gospel is aimed at the Jewish religious leaders. They aren’t wrong in their teachings. They are wrong in their actions. They have lost their focus. They aren’t focusing on God but things of the World.

They want places of honor at gatherings. They want people to honor them in public. And when they speak they want people to give them great respect.

Jesus is saying today pay attention to what they are saying but don’t do what they do.

He tells the people to call no man father. In this sense he is saying “father” as in a term of respect for the station of someone. What he isn’t saying is a child can’t call their earthly father by that title.

As Catholics we call a priest, Father. We do so because the priests are the ones who “begot” us in the faith. They are servants. It isn’t a title of respect to separate them from us anymore than calling your earthly parent father separates them from from us. It endears – it does not separate.

So, understand that we shouldn’t respect someone and give them titles of respect simply because that’s what they think they deserve – higher stations.

If they are in it for accolades they don’t deserve your respect. If they are there to serve. Respect them.

At least that’s what I heard Him say…

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