TUESDAY, SECOND WEEK OF LENT
Reading 1: Is 1:10, 16-20 Prophet Isaiah urges the Israelites to make a decision. Wash yourselves clean, cease doing evil. God assures Israel that no sin is too great to be forgiven
Gospel: Mt 23:1-12 Jesus warns against Phariseeism — going through the external motions of being religious, the heart being absent.
LOSE YOURSELF IN THE SERVICE OF OTHERS
The Pharisees were great teachers of the law. There was one problem however; many of them did not practice what they preached. They reduced the exalted spiritual message of the Law to sets of laws, customs and practices, and sought after legalistic perfection, instead of being examples of holiness. They also loved sitting in the places of honour as well as being called “Rabbi.” Thus, when they went to the synagogue or a banquet, they automatically took the best seats that were available. They relished the regard and respect that were given to them due to their religious position.
Observing all these outward signs of religiosity that the Pharisees exhibited, Jesus questioned their motivation. Did they simply enjoy the reverence, esteem, and perks that were given to them, or were they sincerely and deeply spiritual? Jesus instructs his disciples that their role is to serve the people – not to be served. They are to follow the Jewish laws and customs as the Pharisees taught, but were not to follow their example. He hoped that his disciples would be humble in the best sense of the word.
We are all called to live by one law – God’s law of love. Today is a good day for us to make ourselves aware of our motivations. Why do we do what we do? Is it so that others will think highly of us? Or is it because we truly care about people and desire to help them as best we can? Service is a great gift to give others. Most of the time our service consists of small daily tasks or actions. However, in this process, perhaps the true gift is the genuine love that the service originates from and carries along with it into the heart of the other! May our eyes and hearts be opened today, to reach out to the people around us and genuinely care for them. Perhaps today, someone will reach out and care for us as well.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23 To one whose way is blameless, I will show the salvation of God.
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