Our readings this weekend are about humility and gentleness in the manner in which we live our faith. Even though we do not hear from the Prophet Micah this weekend, his words echo in my heart:

To act justly, to love tenderly, to walk humbly with your God.

It is important to look to Christ as our model.  He, as God, humbled himself to come to earth, and take on our human condition.  Without abandoning his Divinity, he took on our humanity.  He came to reveal to humanity the reality of God, and he did so with tremendous humility – always in obedience to the Father, and in humble, loving service to humanity.

Humility and service.

Our task is to follow the Master – to model our life after his.

Humility and service

Woe of Pharisees by James Tissot

Once again, in the Gospel this weekend, Jesus takes to task the Scribes and Pharisees .  They are arrogant in the manner in which they live their faith.  Jesus acknowledges their role as leaders and their authority to teach, but he challenges that their example is lacking.

Perhaps even more relative to our modern time, he chides them for “placing heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.”

One of the great needs in our Church today is a willingness to live our faith in a manner that ‘attracts and encourages’ others.  Arrogance and pride on the part of some intimidates and discourages others in the faith.  It is troubling when some people – even with good intention – chide others for living in a manner unworthy of the faith.

A good question for us today: Do we live our faith arrogantly as the Scribes and Pharisees?  Do we live our faith in a manner that condemns others or makes them feel like they are unworthy to be called Catholic or Christian?

Jesus was open to all who approached him in his ministry.  He died on the cross to save us from our sins, and to rescue us from all that would divide us.  Likewise, He, and He alone is the judge.  Elsewhere in Scripture, Jesus said: “Stop judging and you will not be judged.  Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.”  (Luke 6:37)   St. Paul taught similarly when he told the Romans: “Then let us no longer judge one another, but rater resolve never to put a stumbling block or hinderance in the way of a brother.” (Romans 14:13)

We are called to humbly examine how closely we are following Christ.  We are called to live humbly with God, and with each other.  We are called to know Jesus, to love God and neighbor, and to know our faith.  In essence, we are called to live the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)

In today’s Gospel, Jesus also teaches that we have One Teacher, One Father, One Master – The Christ, and that we are all brothers and sisters.  Is this not a call to greater unity!

Take a look around your parish.  How well does it represent the full spectrum of the Church?  How well does your parish live out Jesus’ call to unity?  How willing are the members of your parish to ‘accompany’ one another in a manner that helps everyone know they are welcome, while at the same time seeking the Truth of the Gospel?

Is the missionary impulse of the Church alive and well in your parish, which wishes to extend the Kingdom of God?

We are called to be credible witnesses to Christ.  We are called to live humbly before God and with one another.  Let us give due attention to the words of Jesus today:

 The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.