Humility Versus Virtual Celebrity

(from the 2010 Magnificat Lenten Companion)

It is almost too easy to apply Jesus' cautionary words about the willingness of the scribes and Parisees to lord their virtue over others to today's political and social "leaders". They lecture us about their virtues and our shortcomings on every conceivable media outlet. Yet even when they behave what we used to call "badly", they are rewarded with million-dollar book deals and prime-time radio programs. Today, however, we would do well to remember that more and more "ordinary" folks like ourselves are trying to live "celebrity-style". Andy Warhol's prediction about everybody's fifteen minutes of fame seems almost quaint when we consider the strivings of so many to project themselves around the world via reality TV and internet video sites. For the average citizen of this new world order, humility, quiet service, and deference are out. In today's reading, Jesus calls us back from our "virtual" selves, to our real identity: "You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers." Yes, the world is vast, our brothers and sisters are many and in need of sound leadership. We have a role to play. But only God is the true "Master". We serve him, our brothers and sisters, and even ourselves when we imitate the Master and offer what we have as he did, and not in the way of self-serving celebrity-seekers.

Reflection based on Matthew 23:1-12
Helen M. Alvare

Father, help me learn to serve you with a glad heart,
and to resist putting my need for recognition about your will,
and the needs of others.

Today's suggested penance: Pray and offer some sacrifice for the Pope.