31st Ordinary Time year ’A’ 31e dimanche du temps ordinaire, année ’A’

“Whoever is greatest among you will be your servant.”
Saturday 23 September 2017

Mi.2,1-10 Ps.130 Th.2,9-13 Mt.23,1-12

31st Ordinary Time year ’A’

“Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples saying: ’The scribes and Pharisees teach from the seat of Moses. So, do whatever they may tell you and observe their practice. But don’t imitate their life-style, because they say things but don’t do what they preach.” There is a very conflictual atmosphere in Jerusalem here in this text between Jesus, the scribes and the Pharisees. Jesus knows that his Passion is before him, and that not before long his disciples will be by themselves. There is going to have to be a new kind of adopted life-style between them so they can be faithful to this newness Jesus brings. They are going to have to open up to the Kingdom of Heaven. Yes, a new way of life, a new art of living together, a new kind of relationships between believers in Jesus have to be discovered. If we want to enter into the newness of the Life of Jesus then we need to find once more fidelity to his Heavenly Father. Jesus is scandalised by the attitudes the scribes have and also that of the Pharisees and those seated in the seat of Moses. They are in a position of authority and of prestige! Small credulous people are taken up by this ’exterior’ and are lost because of this hypocrisy. This divorce between what is said and what is done is a disaster! It is a caricature of God’s Truth who ’spoke and it was.’ Nevertheless, a Word continues to speak about a message about God! Jesus proposes a new way of entering into relationship through fraternity. It is born out of each person’s freedom and a new way of relating to one another.   “They place heavy burdens onto people, that are hard to bear, onto their shoulders: whereas the themselves don’t want to raise up their little finger to help out.” Jesus unmasks any ’appearances’ which are evident in those ways of living, speaking and doing. The seat of Moses is closed in on itself, occupied by publication, by the fact that actions can be seen. Jesus announces another way altogether which is based upon the secret of interiority, of a Love which is transmitted by a way of life that is limpid in agreement with the message of Love that was announced. Normally the seat of Moses should have been empty. By this this showed the will of the Jewish people to receive the Word from a place beyond those who would transmit or interpret it. The fact that this place was empty always gave the possibility for a prophet to rise up amongst the people to remind each person now and again of what their finality was. The scribes and Pharisees take possession of a place they have no right to whatsoever. Not only do they cut themselves off from the rising up of the Word of God but also, others. As for any inner life, the living relationship with the Living God, it is completely eclipsed! Jesus warns his disciples: “As for yourselves, don’t give the title of Rabbi to anyone, for you only have one master to teach you, and you are all brothers amongst yourselves. Don’t give anyone the name of father to anyone on earth, for you have only one father, your Heavenly Father. And also, don’t call anyone mater for you have only one Master: Christ. The greatest amongst you will be a servant. Whoever raises himself up will come down and whoever lowers himself will be raised up.”   In this way Jesus recalls the start of his discourse on the Mountain which began with the proclamation of the Beatitudes. Just like a new Moses, Jesus too sat down on the floor as he gave his teaching. Then h will humbly walk with his disciples, completely living in his flesh what he was announcing. We need to leave an empty space between what is said and the person who says it in order to let each person find silence, to be able to be situated, to be able to be determined. The tendency to be seen by men, to want to occupy the places of honour, indicate an incapacity to believe in oneself in silence and in solitude, in an Intimate relationship with the One who gives us Life. There is a huge temptation to be recuperated in an exteriority where each person receives their identity from someone else in a to and fro of greetings. This describes Jesus’ whole life and action! He is the suffering servant Isaiah announced! Humiliated, he won’t open his mouth. Stooping down, he will give us the remedy when faced with such evil. But the place will once again be opened up to the action of the father from whom all paternity comes: you, you ae all brothers. At last fraternity and respect for one another can be brought back to humanity.

We ask for the grace to listen to the Word and to put it into practice.

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