Today's Gospel: Matthew 23:1-12
Jesus made a point of taking on the powerful leaders of the day. He often engaged in discussions with the Scribes and Pharisees who failed to grasp his message. They tried to make him look foolish; mirror that he was he reflected their foolishness back onto themselves.
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus again shows the foolish nature of the leaders who make a performance out of being righteous. Claiming their role as “Rabbi,” they get into character with zeal, wearing the right costumes and proclaiming their good deeds in voices sure to reach the last row in the auditorium. They are in perfect character but to Jesus, that is all they are: characters. They bring on the applause of their audience but in the end, it’s just an empty performance.
Jesus teaches us to aspire to being a different character, one who is invisible and yet leaves behind a trail of light and love and good works. We may not remember the stranger on the street who held the door open, gave us a seat on the crowded subway or allowed us to catch the taxi cab meant for him. We may not remember the face or know the name, but we remember the warm glow of our gratitude at his care.
This indeed is the award-winning performance, one done from the heart. And the reward is not an Oscar or a Tony, but eternal life.
Which character do we aspire to be and why?
Lord, make what I do for love of you be the visible part of myself. May you increase as I decrease, only leaving beyond the beautiful light and sweet scent of your love. Amen.
Copyright 2014 Susan Bailey
About the Author
Susan Bailey is the author of River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times (Ave Maria Press), and Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message (ACTA Publications), part of their Literary Portals to Prayer series. Along with her blogs Be as One and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion, Susan writes for the Diocese of Worcester newspaper, The Catholic Free Press.