Monday, February 4, 2013

Return All Glory, Fame and Good Will ***

S. Matthew 22:34 – 23:12

O. More questions are asked of Jesus by the Pharisees. Jesus also responds by talking to the masses.

A. Jesus continues to be a focus of concern by religious leaders. The Pharisees ask him what is the most important commandment.
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
This is the main teaching of Jesus, having a deep relationship with God; it is the most crucial aspect of faith. This relationship is not forged in words, but in intention and attention with our hearts, our souls and our minds. We can say many things; we can even dedicate our life to God or Jesus with words every Sunday or even every day. However, if we don’t follow those words with action on a deep level, then we have not dedicated our life to anything at all.

Jesus reinforces the importance of how we treat others through the second and equally important commandment, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ We must consider all we encounter as our self, treating them accordingly. The way in which we treat even those that we may find profound disagreement with is critical.

At the most basic level, there is no difference between any of us. When we start treating people differently, we demean our relationship with God and ignore our role in the universe, leaving behind forgiveness and mercy. We need forgiveness and mercy, so we must first give them to all others. Who is going to be the first person to do the good and right thing today?

Then, Jesus turns to the crowds that had gathered before him and talks about religious authority.
“Everything they do is for show . . . And they love to sit at the head table . . . and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’
“Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters . . . The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
When having authority over others, often it is not about doing good for others. Instead, it is more about the pomp, the circumstance, the exalted position, the benefits of authority. Initially, we may be focused properly on the objective of helping others. However, positions of authority can create moral dilemmas that grow with time. Jesus states that those that take such positions will be humbled.

The glory, the fame, the good will from others is like an intoxicant. It can cloud our judgment and our position. And, our position should be to redirect any glory, any fame and any good will to our relationship with God and the universe. It is only from the universe, from God, that we receive anything. Whatever we receive we must give as we received, freely and openly. Therefore, the way in which we are seen or treated by others isn’t as important as how we see or treat others. This is the focus of our lives, the well-being of others, not of our own well-being.

P. May I focus on the well-being of others.

No comments:

Post a Comment