Daily Reflection for Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Good Morning Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to read Tuesday's scriptures at the following link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the references are:
First Reading: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20
Responsorial: Psalm 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23
Gospel: Matthew 23:1-12
Reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
In regard to the scribes and Pharisees of his day, Jesus said: “Do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.” (Matthew 23:3). But in reflecting on this gospel, it’s certainly possible to develop some empathy for the “bad guys.” After all, we also often fail to practice what we profess at Mass.
And you and I are not alone. If a preacher talked only about what he strictly practiced, the Sunday homilies would be shorter. Even Paul, the epitome of a great preacher, said of himself, “For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” (Romans 7:19). But Paul didn’t stop preaching and evangelizing. He shared his difficulties with us. He wanted to do better . . . and he kept trying.
In contrast, many scribes and Pharisees suffered from “self-satisfaction.” Unlike Paul, they thought their “preaching” made them holy. Their self-satisfaction blinded them to their hypocrisy. But as Paul made clear, we are all called to humility and honesty – to see both our sinfulness and our salvation. We know where we are . . . and where we want to be. We fall short, but we try. We long to be able to say, “Here I am Lord. I come to do your will.”
I long for that moment. I want to present myself humbly before God. But that’s unlikely to happen on a bright day when I’m enjoying my materialism, when I’m in control, and my life seems to be working as I want. I tend to reach out to God in times of neediness . . . and it’s easier to accept my naked neediness before God in the lonely dark of night when all seems hopeless and I want to escape! “Help me, Lord . . . and please hurry!” In these moments of desperation, I tend to use God as a bandage rather than a catalyst for major changes in my life.
I’ve also learned that lingering in darkness can be a blessing. Darkness spawns humility . . . I easily see my true, naked self as created in God’s image. Humility also reminds me that we’re all made in God’s image. I see the futility of re-making myself according to society’s standards. My lovability comes not from what I have, but from who I am . . . God’s son. I more clearly see the unique talents that I contribute to the Body of Christ. Humility frees me to give control to God.
When I fall short, I find solace in the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Each of those twelve words says a lot. I see my sins. And in my humility, in my appeal to my Lord, I restore my hope. God’s mercy refreshes and renews me . . . to try again.
Peace, my friends . . . and let’s all keep trying,