My Dear Good People,
In today’s Gospel (Mt. 23:1-12) Jesus continues the theme of yesterday’s sermon: This is the way to become more like your Father in Heaven. Don’t follow the bad example of others. When you hear the Word, follow it. Be humble. Be a servant.
Be a servant. We have heard Jesus say this many times in the Gospel, in various ways. It must be very important to Him. The last shall be first and the first last. Do good to others. Let others take the best seats at the banquet.
Humility is not a popular virtue; it threatens to look like weakness. It shows a lack of common sense to let others take the biggest and the best, leaving us with the smallest and the crumbs. Nobody likes crumbs, especially when we’re hungry.
Ah, there’s the rub, Shakespeare would say. So would Jesus. What might we be hungry for? For some, it’s ambition: the kind that’s willing to walk over others if it means we’ll look better, win the awards, gain the recognition.
But at what expense? For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? (Mark 8:36, Douay-Rheims version)
Without a doubt, our hunger is to belong to God in every way we can and to be our best self, the self He created us to be. Jesus showed us how to do it. Forget self, lean toward others. Love until it hurts.
A beautiful friend of the Sisters of Charity tells us she raised her two children to ‘Never look down on others, unless it’s to raise them up.” That’s being humble, a servant, like Jesus.
We’ve seen the picture of Pope Francis washing the feet of the young prisoners in juvenile detention in Rome one Holy Thursday. In a few weeks we will see Jesus, King of the universe, majestic Son of the Living God, kneeling before the apostles to wash their feet. Today He might be asking us, you and me, this question:
Whose feet will you wash?