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The good news for the day March 13, 2017

Monday of the Second Week in Lent (230)

Jesus speaks here to the public and His followers: “Smart people (scribes) and religious leaders (Pharisees) have taken their responsibility to speak for Moses. As a result, put in practice and listen to everything they tell you–just don’t follow their example. They preach, but they don’t practice it. For others they package heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on other’s shoulders; they themselves, though, will not lift a finger to help. The things they do are done to impress bystanders. They upgrade and emphasize their attire and flaunt their importance. They prefer prestigious tables at banquets, places of prominence in houses of prayer, to get noticed with greetings in public, and to get called ‘professor,’ ‘teacher,’ or ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not get called by any such name.’ You have just one teacher. You are all brothers and sisters. Call nobody on earth your father; you have just one Father—in heaven. Do not be called ‘boss,’ or ‘master;’ you have just one master, the Messiah. The greatest person among you has to be your servant. Anyone who boasts of himself will be humbled; anyone who humbles himself will be raised up.” (Matthew 23)

If you are not surprised by Gospel words or events, it is time to pause and reflect—it is Lent. Gospels offer endless mystery, infinite challenge and ever-fresh nourishment—and Good News for you to process and then do.

Here, Jesus addresses you, your social standing, your religious and work environment. Listen—He advises—to people in authority—but “don’t follow their example!” Your freedom as a child of God enables you to sift words and examples, character and rules, honors and humiliations. You are the equal of smart—as well as religious—people. The only ultimate authority—the one you fall back on—is your Father, the Creator—before whom you are equal with everyone else. You are the grown-up Child, able to serve others humbly and respectfully, to see through bluster and showiness—and to avoid doing good just to be seen. A religious leader, a political person, a moral guide may tell you otherwise; listen to the Spirit of Jesus—to His words in your heart.

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