A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 23:1-12
1 Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples,
2 saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
3 Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.
4 They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.
5 All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
6 They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
7 greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
8 As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
9 Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven.
10 Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ.
11 The greatest among you must be your servant.
12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
Good News: Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Jesus is very harsh with people who are hypocrites and who have double standards. He abhors the conceited and oppressors. The Pharisees and other religious leaders during His time were knowledgeable of the law but they lack compassion. So Jesus is telling us to be discerning. Follow what they teach but not what they do because they don’t practice what they preach.
Today, not much is different with some of our leaders, religious as well as political. Although we keep praying for them, let us also call out their attention when they commit mistakes.
In as much as Jesus is unrelenting with hypocrites, He has but praises and kind words for humble people – the servants. He actually exalts them. He calls them the greatest! They are the people who work in the background with no expectation of recognition for who they are and what they do.
“Practice what you preach” is a common phrase we often hear nowadays. Not only preachers should heed this advice but everyone else. Through prayer and constant self-introspection, may our words be consistent with our action. More importantly, may our loving and kind actions speak louder than our words of love and kindness.