Today’s Gospel: Matthew 23:1-12
Pride is my besetting sin. When I became a Catholic several years ago, everything on the list I carried into my first confession could be traced to some form of pride. Even now, every time I face my pastor in confession, I begin with some variation of “more of the same,” an occasion – or more than one – when I thought of myself more highly than I ought. If you don’t struggle with pride, I’ll let you in on something: this ALWAYS causes problems for other people!
The scribes and Pharisees in today’s Gospel certainly thought highly of themselves. They loved praise, and wanted their good works (and even their clothes) to make everybody notice how pious they were. Obeying God was a distant second thought. And the ordinary people were stuck with heavy, hard-to-carry ritual and legal burdens.
Jesus’ prescription for those who didn’t want to be like the Pharisees was to humble themselves. That is, to practice the virtue of humility, which opposes and counteracts pride. I heard a quote recently (I have been unable to trace the source) that “Humility is seeing ourselves as God sees us.” In other words, we must give ourselves the same value our creator gives us, no more and no less. And we should practice saying “You first, not me first.”
Where have I been tempted recently to put myself first, without regard to others?
Lord, help me to see myself as You see me, and to see opportunities to serve others rather than to burden them.
Copyright 2018 Ellen Thomas
Ellen Thomas has been married to Roger for 36 years, and has 6 children, 6 children-in-law, and 16 grandchildren (as of the end of 2017.) She loves knitting, reading (mysteries and sci-fi are among her favorites,) singing in the choir, and cooking lots of food for family and friends. She lives near a Great Lake in Michigan.
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