“The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)
Of course, Jesus is talking to the crowds and his disciples about the Pharisees but he is also talking about me and to me, reminding me of times when I exalted myself and the times that I was humble. Here is a couple of the lessons Jesus gave out in today’s Gospel that I can relate to.
“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.” I have judged others, even church leaders, to be hypocrites so I do not want to listen to what they have to say. The Lord is telling me that I do not have to follow their bad examples but often what is said should be followed as it is the will of God. Rather than closing my eyes and ears, discernment in the Spirit is necessary.
“They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation Rabbi.” I relate well with this one. I spent much of my life striving to be the best and expecting to be treated as the best. I was better than you and I needed you to look up to me. As I have grown in my faith journey, I am embarrassed to look back wondering how negatively I affected the lives of those I associated with. I have been humbled, too many times to count, and today I desire no honor knowing that everything is for God’s glory and I am but an unprofitable servant.
I really believe that great peace comes with humility. I do not have to be better. I am who I am seeking to do the best that I can do. I have to depend completely on the grace of God because I am an adopted son of God. The truth from St. Paul that “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” is my daily goal to bring light to my little world that God has given me. And, when I fail, his mercy and love is there to pick me up and I need not dwell in the sorrow of my failure. Because of God’s grace, I can honestly write to whomever may be reading this and tell you “I love you.” In all humility, we are truly family; brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.