Denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees
Progress Magazine (December 23, 1992) published this short idea about a teacher and titled as, ‘What Kind of Teacher?’ It says that: The mediocre teacher tells; the good teacher explains; the superior teacher demonstrates; the great teacher inspires.
Jesus instructs us that good teachers are supposed to be models of learning and good behavior. And I happened to read a book by which the author said that, if this is a coincidence or not, all the letters in the word “TEACHER” are also found in the word “CHEATER,” but not in order. Jesus chides the Scribes and Pharisees for seeking the praise of others by drawing attention to their showy religious practices. They appear to be loyal “cockfighting buddies” of God as they manifest legalistic familiarity with the Scriptures and the Law but that is where it ends. In a way they want to be good models of observant Jews. The Pharisees too have not always been good teachers because of their callousness, lack of compassion, disregard for justice and sheer hypocrisy.
What should we make as characteristic marks of our Christian life and action?
First is true humility. True humility is not feeling bad about ourselves or having a low opinion of ourselves or thinking of ourselves as inferior to others. True humility frees us from preoccupation with ourselves. Humility is truth in self-understanding and truth in action. Viewing ourselves truthfully means seeing ourselves the way God sees us (Psalm 139:1- 4). A humble person makes a realistic assessment of himself without illusion or pretense to be something he is not.
Second is our practice matches our talk. One of the things we love most about a leader, spiritual or secular, is that he/she is authentic. We know where they stand and how they will lead us because they are putting into practice in their own lives all that they are giving to us. Picture the figure of our beloved Pope John Paul II and you will understand what I mean. He preached the truth in a convincing way because he lived by that truth in his own life. This is what Jesus is asking of us his followers in today’s Gospel. Let us make the practice of our faith not a burden but a joy for the people we are supposed to serve.
Third is obedience. Jesus said: “Do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.” The virtue of obedience is never easy, because it demands the submission of our own will to the will of another. And like all virtues, Christ does not ask of us what he first does not practice himself. He first practiced obedience by doing God’s will. Christian obedience is not a “when I feel like it” obedience, but rather a constant surrender rooted in supernatural faith.
Am I living my faith in an authentic way, or do I live one way externally for all to see, while internally I am very different? And so let us make a hidden act of charity today without seeking anything in return.
OPTION 01, 02, 03,