Today’s Gospel reading, Matthew 23: 1 -12 we hear Jesus preaching in the temple and berating the scribes and Pharisees. He tells his listeners to do what they are told but to not do what they do. In other words, don’t follow their examples.
We all know people like that. People who might have a little bit of authority, and they let it go to their head. They like to make a big show of what they do, making rules and ordering people around. The problem is they don’t follow their own rules, they don’t practice what they preach. They treat others with disrespect, talk to them in a condescending way, trying to impress others. We all know people like this. There was a time when I was like this, I’ll admit it. I was full of false pride. I was always the smartest one in the room. But God has a way of humbling you.
God will knock you down a few pegs, maybe even to the bottom, before you learn humility and begin the climb back. My bottom was having no money and wondering how long the roof on the house was going to hold. As Jesus says:
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. MT 23:12
I needed to learn humility. I needed to be thankful for the things I had. As bad off as we were there were still people who were a lot worse off than we were.
What is Jesus is telling us? We don’t need to go around showing people how holy we are. We don’t need to go to Sunday Mass and sit in the front pew so everyone will see us. We don’t need to make a big production of putting our collection envelopes into the basket in order to make us look like we are contributing more than we are. God knows what we are doing, God knows the real us, and as Jesus says:
He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; Mt:23:11
We need to humble ourselves.