Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent


GOSPEL. ST. MATT, xxiii, 1-12.

(The Hypocrisy and Arrogance of the Pharisees and the Despair of the Traitor.)

At that time Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees have sat on the chair of Moses. All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy and unsupportable burdens, and lay them on men’s shoulders: but with a finger of their own they will not move them. And all their works they do for to be seen of men. For they make their phylacteries broad, and enlarge their fringes. And they love the first place at feasts, and the first chairs in the synagogues, and salutations in the marketplace, and to be called by men, Rabbi. But be not you called Rabbi. For One is your master, and all you are brethren. And call none your father upon earth: for One is your father Who is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters; for One is your master, Christ. He that is the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled, and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

How severely does Jesus in the gospel punish the pride and hypocrisy of the Pharisees, O Christian soul, and how strongly does He recommend obedience towards superiors, spiritual and secular, pastors, parents, teachers and masters. In fact all of these exercise their authority only in the name of that One, Who is your Master, your Father, your Teacher, and yet the servant of all. God rejects only hypocrisy, pride, disobedience, wilfulness and inordinate self-exaltation.
The saddest example of these vices and their terrible punishment is presented to you by Judas and the despair of this traitor. When he saw that his avarice, pride and hypocrisy had brought upon his Savior the sentence of death, he was seized with anxiety and sorrow; but it was too late, and despair overwhelmed him. He sees now the innocent Master and the scorn and pride of the Jews that misled him; his kiss of treachery stands before his soul; Satan so confuses his faculties that he no longer sees the merciful Redeemer, but the implacable Judge; he wanders through a marshy place to the foot of the Mountain of Scandal; with a rope he hangs himself on a tree, his body bursts and his entrails gush out of his traitorous corpse. So ends the unfortunate victim of the pride and hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees, and the victim of his own unbridled passion.


Graciously perfect in us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the spirit of holy obedience, that with Thy help we may be able to perform what, through Thy instruction, we recognize as our duty.

By Thy bitter passion, O Jesus, and by the severe pain which the sin and punishment of Judas caused Thy divine Heart, grant us the grace of humility, obedience, faithfulness, and self-sacrifice so that in all things we may promote Thy honor and the fulfilment of Thy will for time and eternity. Amen.

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