Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Lent

Matt 23:1-12

Denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

Both readings present situations where religion had lost its spirit, soul and heart. And it is obvious that in presenting us today with these readings the Church invites us to ask ourselves: What about my faith, my religion? Is it Spirit-filled or has it also lost its soul?

Centuries ago Jesus spoke in similar words. But again there were religious leaders who practiced a religion that had lost its soul. Again, they put emphasis on outward ceremonies and customs they had created.

Jesus looks today at me and my religious practices. He sees my rosary hanging in the car but not so often in my hands. He sees my religious images and statues at home, a bit dusty but colourful. He sees my beautifully gilded Bible enthroned in my home, most pages still sticking together from the time of its printing. He sees me going to Mass, praying several novenas every week, touching the statues but not my neighbor in need. What would He tell me? Would he have harsh words for me too, because I emphasize the shell which covers emptiness? Would he remind me that I cannot say I love Jesus in my heart when my heart is empty and I never or seldom show this love towards others?

But the Good News in today’s liturgy is that Isaiah assures the people and us of God’s readiness to forgive. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…”

That’s the chance the Lord offers us during this Lenten season: to admit what went wrong and bring back the Spirit, the soul to our faith and religion. (Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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In 1986, the world was devastated by headline news of a sea disaster. It was reported that two ships collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. Hundreds of passengers were killed as they were hurled into the icy waters below. More people were shocked and disgusted when they found out the cause of the accident. It was due to human stubbornness. Each captain knew the other ship’s presence nearby. Both of them could have steered clear and gave enough distance to the other. According to news reports and accounts of survivors, neither captain wanted to give way to the other, too proud to yield first. When they came to their senses, it was too late.

In the gospel of today, Jesus chides the scribes and Pharisees for their showy practices. In some ways they wanted to become good models for the observant Jews. Unfortunately, their good intentions were misguided for they sought honor for themselves not for the glory of God. They were more of a burden than a help to people in their struggles and difficulties. They were not aware of the harm they were forcing on people.

In our daily life, we tend to ape the scribes and Pharisees. We are overzealous in doing things and fail to realize we do more damage than good to our neighbors. Our Lord Jesus Christ wants us to possess godly humility and simplicity of heart, so that by our service we can be a cause of joy to the people we serve and not as stumbling blocks to their faith in God. He never despised those people who were slow in responding to His invitation. Rather, He showed His loving mercy and kindness to then through patience. He showed us the way to the$ Father through His wholehearted acceptance of the Cross for the salvation of humankind. (Fr. Marlone Ramirez, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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Today’s gospel highlights the unpleasant fact that we are often scandalized by the behavior of certain leaders in the Church and in our parish community.

Scandal, of course, does not come only from religious leaders – we all seem to spend a lot of time scandalizing each other! However, it is vital not to let ourselves be affronted by the conduct of others to the extent that we condemn and perhaps even abandon the Church. The Church is good in herself, even if she is made up of sinners like you and me.

James Stewart said in one of his films, “God uses the good people and the bad people use God.” We are all to an extent “good people”, insofar as we often ourselves to the will of God and we are also all to a degree “bad people” insofar as we take advantage of our religion, and use God for our own ends.

Obviously, we should never condone the sins of our fellow believers or ourselves, but perhaps we should confront the problem, not with resignation but positively and in a wider perspective and possibly even sometimes with a touch of humor. (There is, after all, a certain humor in Jesus’ words!) Shortly after the beginning of his pontificate Pope John XXIII was asked by a reporter how many people worked in the Vatican. He answered, “I’m not sure, I’ve just got here, but I think about half of them do!”

We are all hurt and saddened by the sinfulness of the Church’s leadership, and also her rank and file. But let us not hinder or negate Christ’s redemptive work through the Church by condemning her or even leaving her, simply because of the sins of her bishops, priests, lay leaders or others! My professor at normal college, when challenged about the sinfulness of the Church, retorted, “”I’m not going to throw away the joy that Christ has given me through the Church, just because our archbishop has got a new Mercedes Benz for Lent!” (Fr. Alan Meechan, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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“The late President Harry Truman often referred to leaders as people who can get others to do what they don’t want to do and make them like doing it.” (J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership).

Today’s two readings are aimed at leaders responsible for the administration of their communities. Isaiah urges the nation’s rulers in behalf of the powerless and the poor to “learn to do good” and “redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s pleas, defend the widow.” Jesus exhorts the leaders “to walk the talk” or practice what they preach by giving a good example. The position they hold is not a position of power but of service. “The greatest among you must be your servant.” As Jesus came to serve so must His disciples.

The call to service is not for leaders only but for all Christians as well. There are three types of Christians who respond to the call of service: 1) the rowboat Christians – they need to be pushed wherever they go. They serve because they have to out of obligation. 2) the sailboat Christians – they always go with the wind. They serve because it pleases them and get favors in return. 3) the steamboat Christians –  they make up their mind where they ought to go regardless of wind or weather. They serve willingly and gladly in season and out of season. For them it is an outward expression of their love and gratitude to God.

The season of Lent is a grace-filled time. It calls us to make changes in our life. “Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord,” ((Is. 1:18). But this conversion must be as radical as ‘crimson red’ becoming ‘white as wool.’ The call to conversion is for all God’s people. It calls us to make a journey from self-centeredness and self-love towards self-giving or selfless love. True selfless love is always expressed and shown in service. Service is that instantly recognizable mark that definitely identifies one as a Christian. (Fr. Mario Bije, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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Mag-iiglesia ako. Matagal ng di ako nagsimba sa katoliko. Pangit angkilos ng mga namumuno.” I was surprised to hear the words of the lady in front of me in the in the FX van. I wondered if the leaders of the Iglesia were any better. Or is the institution better or greater than the sinners who occupy it?

The Pharisees claimed they were the successors to Moses, seating on the seat of Moses. So in spite of the weaknesses of Judaism’s leaders, Jesus supported entirely the “church” of Judaism, telling the people to obey its leaders, though not to imitate their undesirable conduct.

Early institutions will pass away, including the institutions of the Church, but the Church herself will never pass away because she will continue in heaven. Of course there are sinners in the Church, even among the leadership but they will not remain as such because their positions are transitory too.

Henri Nouwen, in Bread for the Journey, perhaps best sums up the paradox of the holiness and the sinfulness of Church leaders and, in fact, of all of us: “The church is holy and sinful, spotless and tainted…The church too is a group of sinful, confused, anguished constantly tempted by the powers of lust and greed and always entangled in rivalry and competition…only when we keep both these ways of thinking and speaking together can we in live in the Church as true followers of Jesus.”

I wonder if I was one of those whose bad example had allegedly caused the lady to defect to the Iglesia. Many priests have been used as an excuse for people not to attend Mass. I have often thought that if people had wanted a saint, they should have looked for another priest, though I don’t think they would have found one who was a saint! However, my brokenness does not mean that I am not trying to grow in Christ, in fact I hope I am growing along with with my fellow sinners and helping them to grow too. (Fr. Alan Meechan, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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February 23, 2016 Tuesday

I remember the humility of St. Arnold Janssen during the foundation of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) in Steyl, Holland. As a founder and at the same time a Superior General, he was not spared of suspicions and humiliations, which tested his virtues and humble spirit. He often experienced being misunderstood and misjudged since he was not expressive and could not shine in public. He encountered many humiliations when dealing with Roman authorities. In the midst of these, he would only respond, “I am used to such things. I experienced worse ones. Fiat voluntas tua!” What remarkable humility.

Jesus taught us humility as one of the values of the kingdom. It is one that characterizes greatness and servanthood. If we want to be great, then let’s be humble. Humility is a way to greatness. If we want to be servant to others, then we must be humble. Servanthood requires humility. Thus, a humble person is a mature one. He recognizes that God is the giver of all that is good and that he gives us the joy of doing good as we serve our family and Christian communities.

Let me end this reflection with the words of St. Arnold Janssen: “A faithful servant of Jesus must leave humbly the achievements of his work in the hands of God and remain at peace also when the Lord says to him: ‘I do not now need you; just do as it pleases me and I will give you success or failure according to my divine plan for you.’” (Fr. Jhonatan A. Letada, SVD CKMS, Quezon City Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/index.php/daily-reflection/483-february-23-2016-tuesday

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Reflection: Walk your talk is a language of management, what does this mean? It simply signify, do what you say and lead by example. For instance if the leader tells his subordinates to do this and that, the leader must ensure that he leads the way for his people.

Many of the Pharisees and the scribes during the time of Jesus were leaders of their communities. And as such they give orders to their people to do this and that, then it ends giving orders. There was no personal immersion from them, they gave orders and they just stay in their ivory towers observing their subjects.

Effective leadership for Jesus is leadership by example. They are leaders who walk their talk. For instance in a family setting if the parents would say to their children, do this and that and observe this discipline and that. To facilitate thorough accomplishment of their orders the parents must lead by example. Thus, they even earn the respect of their children.

Isn’t this advice of Jesus also very useful to our personal lives? If we want our orders to be accomplished and if we want to gain the respect of our people we must then be ready to lead by example. And this is by the way how Jesus lived His life and His leadership.

How are you as an individual or perhaps as a leader? Are you the type who’s just content of giving orders?   (Marino J. Dasmarinas)

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/03/my-reflection-for-tuesday-march-18.html

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Reflection for February 23, Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent; Matthew 23:1-12

Reflection: Who is a true follower of Jesus?

A true follower of Jesus is someone who is simple, he doesn’t   think highly of himself neither he isolates himself in an ivory tower so that others will look-up to him. A follower mingles and interacts with the people, he doesn’t throw judgment on anyone regardless who they may be.

A true follower lives and breathes humility, its part and parcel of his way of life. How then can we be humble, how then can we live and breathe humility and how then can we make it our way of life? We always have to do things with the end in mind that everything that we do we do for the greater glory of God. We don’t do things for our own glory, we don’t do things for us to be praised to high heavens.

Many of the Pharisees during Jesus time had a mentality of superiority perhaps this was because they were the ruling power. They love to give commands, they love to be looked-up and they crave for prominence and respect. Servanthood and humility was farthest from their mind.

From time to time we need to ask ourselves, Am I a true follower of Jesus? Or I’m becoming more like the Pharisees who always seeks prominence, honor and attention. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2016/02/reflection-for-february-23-tuesday-of.html

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Reflection for March 3, Tuesday of the Second Week in Lent; Matthew 23:1-12 Reflection: How could we best share our faith? How could we convince others to go to Holy Mass? How could we encourage others to read their bible? It’s through sharing of our faith not sharing it by way of threat of condemnation if they would not follow us. But through sharing of our faith with gentleness, humility and patience.

We wouldn’t be able to convince others to follow us or to join our faith if we use self-serving motives. If we will use methods of arrogance and other means of self promotion. Jesus even if He could never promoted Himself as a powerful God/person. He always lived as a humble and gentle God or person. And it’s through these acts that He won people to His side.

We can’t help but relate this gospel with how we live our faith or even our life. If we want to be respected in our community, in our church or even in our own house. We then have to be humble and gentle we will not earn respect by our show of power and arrogance.

We may have this false belief that because we are powerful, rich and knowledgeable it’s automatic already that others will respect us. But no, we have to earn respect by our acts of humility and gentleness.

In our gospel Jesus told His disciples about the Pharisees and scribes who loved to be in the forefront. Always displaying their power and influence, they love to give orders and advice but they don’t live what they order or advice.

How about us? Are we honest enough to admit that we are still a work in progress as far as humility is concerned? Are we honest enough to admit that we also love to display our power, intelligence and influence? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2015/03/reflection-for-march-3-tuesday-of.html

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Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Lent (A)

Matthew 23:1-12. What makes us credible preachers, teachers, parents, or guides? It is no other than the moral life that we try to observe everyday, which gives flesh to the Christian teachings that we deliver to others. When we practice what we preach, we make it easier for our parishioners, students, children, and neighbors to understand and follow what we teach them. If we cannot love others, or live the truth, we better not preach. Not practicing what we preach is dishonest. We may be able to express some truths, but we cannot inspire souls. Like the Pharisees, we might only be putting heavy burden to people’s lives, or worst, we can cause discouragement to many who originally would have wanted to live morally. (Abet Uy)

abetuy.blogspot.com/2014/03/tuesday-of-second-week-of-lent-a.html

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Monday, February 22, 2016

TUESDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK OF LENT (YEAR C) – MATEO 23:1-12. SAYOP BA ANG PAGTAWAG SA USA KA TAWO OG “MAGTUTUDLO”, “AMAHAN”, UG “PANGULO”? Ang pagdili ni Kristo sa pagtawag ni bisan kinsa dinhi sa yuta nga “Magtutudlo”, “Amahan”, ug “Pangulo” usa ka paagi sa pagsulti o pagsulat nga gipalabi-an (hyperbole in English) aron sa pagtudlo og mahinungdanong mga punto. Dili tuyo ni Hesus nga bawalan kita sa pagtawag sa atong titser og “magtutudlo”, o sa atong tatay og “amahan”, o sa atong presidente og “pangulo” tungod kay kini gibuhat man sa mga matarong nga tawo sa iyang panahon. Ang iyang tumong mao ang pagsaway sa kinaiya nga nag-apas lamang sa mga titulo ug pasidungog nga kalibotanon, apil ang batasan nga mapasigarbohon ug mapahitas-on. Matud pa niya, “Ang labing dako kaninyo kinahanglang mahimo nga inyong sulugoon.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2016/02/tuesday-of-2nd-week-of-lent-year-c.html

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Story: There was a car accident. People came out to see the victim and to know what happened. They surrounded the victim. A newspaper reporter happened to pass by. He thought of sensational news. But he could not see the victim. Because of the crowd, he could not go nearer. Besides, people would not give way to him.

He thought of a gimmick. He shouted at the top of his voice, “Make way, i am the father of the victim. Let me pass. Give way for me, please!” the people surprisingly looked at him. He shouted, “I am the father of the victim. Let me see him.” They moved out and gave way to him. He saw the victim. To his amazement, the victim was just a dog.

I will be affirmative and appreciative of people’s goodness. I will be senstitive to people’s needs. Am I a source of inspiration, encouragement, goodness to others? Are my words burdensome to others? What do I have to improve, to change and to develop? (Msgr. Ruperto C. Santos STL, Jesus Serves and Saves Us, Makati: St. Pauls, 2003: 72)

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Tuesday, February 23 2016

Is 1:10, 16-20; Mt 23:1-12

A Sermon Walking

One afternoon in 1953, reporters and officials gathered at a Chicago railway station to receive the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner. He stepped off the train- a giant of a man, six feet- four, with bushy hair and a large moustache. As cameras flashed, the city officers approached him with flowers. He thanked them politely and then, looking over their heads, asked if he could be excused for a moment. He walked through the crowd and reached the side of an elderly black woman who was struggling as she tried to carry two large suitcases.

He picked up the bags in his big hands and, smiling escorted the woman to a bus. As he helped her aboard, he wished her safe journey. Meanwhile, the crowd tagged along behind him. He turned to them and said, “Sorry to have kept you waiting.”

The man was Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the famous missionary –doctor, who had spent his life helping the poorest of the poor in Africa. A member of the reception committee said to one of the reporters: “That’s the first time I ever saw a sermon walking.”

Church leaders in every age are criticized for not fully following the teachings of Jesus in their life. The same way the political leaders too are criticized. Our leaders may not live up to the standards of gospel they preach. The solution is not to part away from the Church. The gospel they teach and the sacraments they administer are foolproof and do not fail. What Jesus said about the teachers of his time he will be saying about the teachers of our time- “You shall do and observe all they say, but do not do as they do.”

But, it is the responsibility of the teachers to set an example for the people by  their life. St. Francis of Assisi reminds us, “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” Dr. James M L CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-02-23

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February 23, 2016

REFLECTION: “They do not do what they say,” says Jesus of the scribes and Pharisees of his time. That indeed is the characteristic of hypocrites, is it not? Yes, it is. And we secretly congratulate ourselves for not being hypocrites. Yet, if we stopped ourselves in our tracks, sat down a few minutes, and examined in detail our behavior during the past 24 hours, would we find that we always and invariably do as we say, act according to our professed principles, follow through with our resolutions? Maybe we do all that. Then we are probably ready for canonization… Most of us, ordinary humans, have difficulty living up to our high Christian ideals. Always doing what we say we do is not always easy. In fact, at times it is excruciatingly difficult.

Pharisees also “do everything in order to be seen by people.” Again, before throwing stones at anyone, maybe we should sit down and ask ourselves: “During the past 24 hours, would I have done anything diffe­rently if I had the absolute ­certainty that nobody was watching me? When do we act purely for God, ­regardless of who is watching? There is perhaps a little Pharisee inside many of us…

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3452-february-23-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Lent

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