Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Today's readings and reflection

FIRST READING (Isaiah 1:10, 16-20)
Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

GOSPEL READING (Matthew 23:1-12)
At that time: Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men.

“But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Why humility is essential Word of Life Community

True humilty - Robert F. Morneau 

What constitutes humility - St Gregory of Sinai
“…true humility does not say humble words, nor does it assume humble looks, it does not force oneself either to think humbly of oneself, or to abuse oneself in self-belittlement. Although all such things are the beginning, the manifestations and the various aspects of humility, humility itself is grace, given from above. There are two kinds of humility, as the holy fathers teach: to deem oneself the lowest of all beings and to ascribe to God all one’s good actions. The first is the beginning, the second the end.” 

The phrase “practise what you preach” has become something of a cliché: sound advice, but we have heard it all before. And yet we all know exactly what is being criticised by that phrase. There are people who simply do not practise what they preach: they say one thing and do the opposite. With words they set themselves up as an authority, and with actions they show themselves to be ignorant. There is little more repulsive than listening to one who does not practise what they preach.

But then there comes a time when I realise that I do not practise what I preach. I recognise in myself a gap between saying and doing: where do I stand now? Am I no better than the people I detest because they do not practise what they preach? No, is the answer. We are not called to preach anything apart from Christ, or to do anything apart from conforming to him. It is at this moment that I realise that I have exalted myself, and when I have done that, the Lord warns me that I shall be humbled.

Humbled, not humiliated. The moment I realise that I do not practise what I preach is the moment when I stop making noise and listen. There is only one Master; there is only one Father - without union with Him I am nothing. If I preach the Love of Christ, and remain in that, then what I say is already being practised

Keep, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church
with thy perpetual mercy;
and, because the frailty of man without thee
cannot but fall,
keep us ever by thy help
from all things hurtful,
and lead us to all things profitable
to our salvation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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