Daily Reflection – Feb 23, 2016
Tuesday 23 February 2016
First Reading: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20
To the upright I will show the saving power of God
Psalm 49(50):8-9, 16-17, 21, 23
Gospel Reading: Matthew 23:1-12
Today’s Saint: St Polycarp
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.”
How can you recite my commandments, and throw my words to the wind?
Jesus berated the Scribes and Pharisees because they were so wrapped up in the rituals and lacked compassion, for their hearts were hollow. Through Isaiah, God beseeches the people to search for justice, to help the oppressed, to plead for the widow and orphan. Reading the signs of the times, it seems that little has changed. Where is the justice and help for refugees seeking sanctuary, the assistance for the lonely and disenfranchised? Often these works of mercy are done by grassroots people, operating from the goodness of heart and a desire to build God’s kingdom of love and mercy.
Lord, help us to live a life of compassion, so our deeds may flow from who we are, as naturally good fruit from a good tree.