Daily Gospel Reflection - Memorial of Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church
Bishop Robert Barron
Memorial of Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church
Gospel: Mt 23:1-12
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. For they preach but they do not practice. 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. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. 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 Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today’s Gospel exposes the pride of the Pharisees and concludes with the prescription of humility. I want to reflect on this virtue.
St. Augustine said that all of us, made from nothing, tend toward nothing. We can see this in our frailty and sin and mortality. St. Paul said, “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?”
To believe in God is to know these truths. To live them out is to live in the attitude of humility. Thomas Aquinas said humilitas veritas, meaning humility is truth. It is living out the deepest truth of things: God is God and we are not.
Now, all of this sounds very clear when it’s stated in this abstract manner, but man is it hard to live out! In our fallen world, we forget so readily that we are creatures. We start to assume that we are gods, the center of the universe.
The ego becomes a massive monkey on our backs, and it has to be fed and pampered constantly. What a liberation it is to let go of the ego! Do you see why humility is not a degradation, but an elevation?