Cross, not A Chair

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Come and See 66
31st A                                                            
Malachi 1:14-2, 2b, 8-10
I Thessalonians 2:7b-9,13
Mt 23:1-12


The young seminarian was excited about preaching his first sermon in his home church. After three years in seminary, he felt adequately prepared, and when he was introduced to the congregation, he walked boldly to the pulpit, his head high, radiating self-confidence.

But he stumbled reading the Scriptures and then lost his train of thought halfway through the message. He began to panic, so he did the safest thing: He quickly ended the message, prayed, and walked dejectedly from the pulpit, his head down, his self-assurance gone.

Later, one of the godly elders whispered to the embarrassed young man, “If you had gone up to the pulpit the way you came down, you might have come down the way you went up.” [1] 

Lord Jesus, grant me grace to be humble as you are humble.


* * *

Jesus portrayed the image of Pharisees and Scribes were those who often presented themselves as the important persons. They wanted to wear garments; they wanted to sit in distinction places both in synagogues and at meals. They wanted people to call them teachers. All in all, the Pharisees and Scribes showed themselves as if they were religious persons.

However, Jesus did not want his disciples to follow the Pharisees’ examples. He wanted his disciples to emulate Him who was a true Teacher. The true Teacher was the one who not only taught but also practiced what he taught to others. The true Teacher did not choose a high seat for his position, but instead he chose a cross where he was hung in front of everybody to insult.

Today, the Gospel reveals Jesus’ teaching about humility. Opposite to the Pharisees and the Scribes who “have taken their seat on the Chair of Moses” (Mt 23:2), Jesus wants his disciples to live humbly. Living a religious life is not a type of following rules and regulations, but opening the heart to recognize the truth of who who you are.

Lord Jesus, grant me grace to be humble as you are humble.

[1] Galaxie Software, 10,000 Sermon Illustrations (Biblical Studies Press, 2002; 2002).

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