Who Is The Greatest?

(from the 2010 Magnificat Lenten Companion)

The scribes and Pharisees were the keepers of the law, God's most precious gift, given to the chosen people of Israel. Everyone considered these men to be greater than others: they were the university professors, newspaper editors, and politicians of that time and place. They had set up a system of religious government that shunned the unclean, the sinners, and the uneducated. Jesus was often in conflict with them over their practice of the law. Jesus' disciples must have been giddy with delight whe he, a man who was an object of wonder, who spoke as no one had ever spoken, whose authority was evidently of divine origin, took their part. Not only was he clearly greater than the scribes and Pharisees, but if they could remain on his side, they, too, would share in his future greatness, which they imagined as the same but even greater than the political power of the Pharisees. Their hope for future glory was, unfortunately, part of what attracted Jesus' followers, despite the fact that he often taught them the truth of the matter. The path to glory contradicts all our images of greatness; to follow it, we must adhere with simplicity to the Word of God, which encompasses everything, incliding our lives, all of creation, and the cross.

Reflection based on Matthew 5:17-19
Suzanne M. Lewis

All-powerful and ever-living God, we beg for the grace to
listen with open hearts to your divine Word and to follow
you law in humility and wonder all the days of our lives.

Today's suggested penance: Clean up someone else's mess.