THE EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW
In today's Gospel (Mt. 23:1-12) Jesus tells His disciples not to follow the example of the scribes and Pharisees. He tells them to observe what they say, but not to follow their example. The reason being is that the scribes and Pharisees talked a good talk, but when it came down to it, their example did not coincide with their teachings. They weren't practicing what they were preaching. They placed great demands on others, but would not subject themselves to the same demands. They did not want to accept any responsibility. Instead, they wanted to be recognized for the noble positions they held and the wisdom they passed on to others.
These are dangerous waters to be in when it comes to the spiritual life. We are all called to lead lives of holiness by being a good example to others. The example we are called to follow and embrace is Christ the Lord. He shows us the proper way to do things and He lived His life following the teachings He gave to others. He practiced what He preached. He was preparing all of us to be faith-filled people and not hypocrites. This teaching of Jesus must not be thought of as reserved for Church leaders. Certainly, the clergy has an important role to play in helping shape the faith lives of those entrusted to their care and they must lead by example. However, Jesus' teaching is for all of us. This is a universal call to holiness. It is a reminder of who we are and how we are to live our lives. We must not be hypocritical either. We cannot place expectations on others and yet not deal with our own sins or areas for improvement. We have to be open to conforming our lives to the will of the Father. After all, Lent is meant to help us do such a thing.
*Today we pray to the Holy Spirit to reveal those areas in which we need to improve in order to become a better disciple of Jesus. Let us not be prideful in performing this exercise, but allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten us as to where we need to grow and improve. Once we recognize such areas may the Holy Spirit then help us go about making the necessary changes. As we do so, we will notice significant changes in our lives and we will feel closer to Christ. That truly is the goal of this spiritual exercise. As the Lord said to the prophet Isaiah, "Come now, let us set things right" (Is. 1:18).
God bless you always,
~ Fr. Michael J. Slusz ~
Posted by Ed Sousa, Sr. at 12:47 PM