20th Week in Ordinary Time : Saturday 20th August 2022

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St Bernard, Abbot and doctor

20th Week in Ordinary Time : Saturday 20th August 2022

Ez. 43:1-7a; Ps. 84:9ab and 10,11-12, 13-14;
Mt. 23:1-12 (Ps Wk IV)

During Jesus’ time, the scribes were seen as religious intellectuals skilled in interpreting and applying the Scriptures to everyday life. The Pharisees, meanwhile, were mainly pious laymen belonging to a religious fraternity which lived out a strict observance of the Law. Together, they were looked upon by the people as “occupying the chair of Moses”, which describes the seat of honour in the synagogue from which the teacher delivered his teaching.

Jesus’ contention against the scribes and Pharisees was not that they were highly regarded as experts or authorities of the Law or how they taught it. What he was unhappy with was their hypocrisy. To Jesus, the hypocritical nature of the scribes and Pharisees could be seen in two main ways.

Firstly, because they were so self-absorbed in their piety, the scribes and Pharisees did not show genuine concern for those struggling under the burden of living up to the Law as they interpreted it.

Secondly, they did what they did because they wanted to ‘show off’ their religiosity or because they desired prestigious titles and places of honour at public gatherings.

In complete contrast to the hypocritical leadership style of the scribes and Pharisees is the leadership style of Christ. Christ shows us that authentic Christian leadership calls for humble service to humanity. This type of leadership rejects all forms of religious showiness and the search for titles and positions.

Lord, teach me to lead others with humility.

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