God’s invitation to become saints is for all, not just a few. Sanctity therefore must be accessible to all. In what does it consist? In a lot of activity? No. In doing extraordinary things? No, this could not be for everybody and at all times. Therefore, sanctity consists in doing good, and in doing this good in whatever condition and place God has placed us. Nothing more, nothing outside of this. - Blessed Louis Tezza
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.”
As disciples of Jesus, we are called to give ourselves unconditionally to the service of our brothers and sisters. No matter what our state in life may be, we are called to give of ourselves with detachment from all worldly glory. We experience true evangelical freedom when we serve with a spirit of total detachment.
The egotist is saddened when he does not receive recognition for the good that he has done for others. When applause is not heard, when awards are not given, and when attention is not received, the egotist retreats from his good work and fades away in self-pity. Let us remember the words of Jesus: "When you have done all that is commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty'" (Luke 17: 10).
We all know that people can be very ungrateful for the service that is given to them. How many people thank those who give of themselves unconditionally? Parents, teachers, clergy, police, firefighters, doctors and nurses many times live thankless lives. Nevertheless, the Gospel calls us to give of ourselves unconditionally and seek as our only reward eternal life in heaven. This is true Christianity. Any other posture is simply rooted in egotism.
"Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" (Mark 10: 38). Jesus asks James and John if they can live the Cross? Can you be neglected, forgotten, die to yourself, and never seek praise from others? Can you be submerged in hatred, pain, and even death? The standard of greatness for Christianity is not earthly glory, but the Cross of Jesus Christ.
"Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be the slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10: 44-45).