Reflection on Scripture Thirty-first Sunday Gospel A Attitude of service

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 Thirty-first Sunday Gospel Reflections Year A

Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example.

· Observe what they teach that is from God, but do not follow their example when it is not of God. In what way is the same true today?

For they preach but they do not practice.

· In what way is this true sometimes in our own lives?

They tie up heavy burdens  (hard to carry) and lay them on people's shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.  All their works are performed to be seen. 

· Recall what Jesus taught about praying, fasting and giving alms for people to see.  Their reward is the praise of the people but not the blessing from God. What in our lives reflect the same thing?

They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.

· According to the human interpretation of the Mosaic Law phylacteries were small containers in which verses of scripture written on parchments were stored and worn on the forehead and the left arm. This was to keep the Word of God always before them.

· The Mosaic law also specified that tassels or sown fringes be worn on the corners of one's garment as an external reminder to the person of the need to keep the commandments

· While the phylacteries and the tassels were part of the human additions, the widening of phylacteries and the lengthening of tassels were for show, to bring attention to the religious piety of the person.

They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.' As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.' You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called 'Master'; you have but one master, the Messiah.

· What Jesus is condemning is not the teachings, not the external trappings, not the salutations “Rabbi” or “Father” or “Master” but the underlying motive and intention.

· When someone uses this scripture “Call no one Father” as a way of rejecting the role of a priest as Father, do you know how to counteract this attempt?  One rule is to see the context in which a statement is made in the scriptures; another is to see how this is in harmony with the rest of scripture. Here, the context is pride and ostentatiousness or show.  As far as the rest of scripture, one of the commandments is honor one’s father. There can be no contradiction in the scriptures.

The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” 

· How well do we live this in our daily lives?

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