by Rev. Dr. V. K. Thomas, Valiyaparambil
Next Sunday is the 5th Sunday after Sleebo. The gospel reading is from Mathew 23:1-12.
Theme: "All those who humble themselves will be exalted, and all who exalt themselves will be humbled."
"1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
2 "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3 So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 5 "Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.' 8 "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth 'Father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Mathew 23:1-12)
We all want to impress on other people. This is mostly a basic urge in us. We want to be seen as successful and better achievers than others. The newest car, biggest house, nicest clothes, better achieved children, from the most prestigious family that others are not from, and so on. We all have a tendency to become the lead dog. This desire to be the first, the best and to be admired by others has a name: PRIDE. What do we read about them? God tells us that "first will be last and last will be the first."
The Pharisees wanted others to see them as first and expected special treatment. They wanted others to be impressed with their piety and holiness.
Jesus spent a great deal of time uncovering the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Jesus told his followers, "Do whatever they teach you and follow it, but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they preach."
A hypocrite is someone who pretends to be something he or she is not. Do we have hypocrites in our midst.? Yes, plenty!! There are many amongst us who do not practice what they say. Nobody is perfect. But at least we have to try not to be hypocrites.
Pride and ego cause us to become hypocrites. It actually hurts us. How? It hurts our relationships with others. We pretend to be somebody we are not because of our pride. We try to hide who we really are. Our pride and ego won't allow us to be real. We are too ashamed to admit that we are not better than others. Actually we have nothing to gain by pretending to be what we are not.
Like the Pharisees, we may be able to fool others to be looked up better to others than what we are. But being honest with and pleasing God should be far more important.
Bringing out our false pride and ego is not being honest with God. We may not realize, but most people around us see us through our pretensions and posturings. To them we are like a clear see-through glass. They may not say or express it. Our posturings and pretensions in reality do not impress them. They know us better than what we think they know of us. We need to be less concerned with our false pride and ego knowing that without God's grace and acceptance we are nobody. As the Bible says, all who humble themselves will be exalted, and all who exalt themselves will be humbled.
Praise the Lord, O my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live. . . Psalm 146
Praise the Lord,
my mind and memory,
my thoughts and deeds of this day.
I will praise the Lord wherever I go;
I will sing praise,
for the Lord is good.
Praise the Lord,
strangers and friends;
let us praise him for he loves us;
let us sing praise to our God while we live.
Glory to the Father. . .
See Also:Pride, Ego and Hypocrisy by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas Valiyaparambil
Being Righteous and Humble Before God by Rev. Fr. K.K. John
Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the 5th sunday after Sleebo
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