Daily Reflection – Aug 20, 2016
Saturday 20 August 2016
First Reading: Ezekiel 43:1-7
The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land
Gospel Reading: Matthew 23:1-12
Today’s Saint: St Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)
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.”
In the first reading, the account of Ezekiel measuring the dimensions of the temple comes to a conclusion. When the full measurements have been completed, the guide takes Ezekiel to the east gate, where the prophet sees the return of God’s glory to the reconstituted temple.
God, who had departed the temple as the throne chariot by the east gate as a sign of judgement, now returns through the same gate as a sign of judgement, now returns through the same gate as a sign of restoration. Ezekiel is overwhelmed and falls to his face but the spirit takes him to the inner court, where God speaks to the prophet promising to dwell in the midst of Israel forever.
In the Gospel, Jesus addresses the disciples and the people. The setting is the temple, where only days earlier he had cleared of money lenders and sellers of sacrificial animals. He warns them to avoid the scribes and Pharisees, who are said to occupy the chair of Moses. This was the way of describing the seat of honour in the synagogue from which the teacher delivered his teaching. Jesus urges the audience to follow the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees, but to avoid their hypocrisy and love of seeking privileged positions and prestigious titles. Then, Jesus reminds them that they have only one Teacher, Christ himself.
With the coming of Jesus, the glory of God has been restored in the temple. In and with him, the presence of God will dwell with the people forever. Indeed, Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us.
“Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness.”