Do What I Say, Not What I Do

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Saturday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 23:1-12
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “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. For they preach but they do not practice. 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. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, here I am. Thank you for this moment, for the gifts of life and your love. Help me to be open to hear what you have to say, or to simply enjoy being in your presence. I believe in you, trust you, and love you—increase my faith, hope, and love.
Encountering Christ:

  1. Carrying Burdens: It can be very easy to demand things of others–our children, spouse, coworkers, or acquaintances–while making little excuses for ourselves in the exact same context. We’re being pharisaical when we do so.“They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on others’ shoulders, but will not lift a finger to carry them.” In fact, it is so easy that looking at what bothers us in others is a great way to see what virtues we need to grow in. 
  2. All in the Family: “You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.” Christ makes it clear that as soon as we start putting on airs, thinking that we are somehow above others, we’re fooling ourselves. We are allowing our pride or vanity to color our perceptions. Growth in humility doesn’t come through mental acrobatics, by forcing ourselves to think differently, but through real, daily contact with the Lord. When we spend time every day to put ourselves in his presence, and let him show us just how much we depend on him, the way we look at the world and others totally changes.
  3. Whoever Humbles Himself Will Be Exalted: Humility is like exercise. No one likes it (at first), but everyone needs more of it. The best way to become humble is to ask God for the grace, and then start trying. How? Padre Pio offers some great advice for practicing humility: “We must humble ourselves on seeing how little self-control we have and how much we love comfort and rest. Always keep Jesus before your gaze; He did not come to rest nor to be comfortable either in spiritual or temporal matters, but to fight, to mortify himself and to die.“

Conversing with Christ: Lord, thank you for this moment of grace. I am sorry for my weak faith, hope, and love—support me by your grace today. I know that you love me more than I can imagine. Thank you for your love, and never let be separated from you
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will, when tempted to judge someone, take a moment to think of something positive about them
For Further Reflection: 
“These are the few ways we can practice humility:
To speak as little as possible of one’s self.
To mind one’s own business.
Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.
To avoid curiosity.
To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.
To pass over the mistakes of others.
To accept insults and injuries.
To accept being slighted, forgotten, and disliked.
To be kind and gentle even under provocation.
Never to stand on one’s dignity.
To choose always the hardest.”
― Mother Teresa, The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living
Written by Br. Riley Connors.

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