You must ask God to give you power to fight against the sin of pride which is your greatest enemy – the root of all that is evil, and the failure of all that is good. For God resists the proud. - St. Vincent de Paul: (1581 – 1660: was a French Roman Catholic priest who dedicated himself to serving the poor)
Gospel Text: (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.”
For me, the greatest sin that Jesus mentions that the Pharisees and the scribes do is 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.” In others words, the scribes and Pharisees would continually point out to people what they were doing wrong, or how they needed to follow the Law of Moses, but would do nothing to help them.
Jesus’ words caution us not to do the same thing. We are not here to add to people’s burdens but to help them carry them. If we look at what God has done for us in Jesus Christ, how He lifted the burden of sin from us, and freed us from the burden of fear, our response cannot be to impose burdens on others. It is not our role to condemn, but to love. That is how Jesus has treated us!
We are called to help lift each other up. There is no need to exalt ourselves; no need to put others down so that we can feel better about who we are.