“He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)
Today’s feast, The Queenship of Mary, is a natural follow-up of her glorious Assumption into heaven; her final reward so to say and the fulfilment of the words of Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation.
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom, there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33).
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus acknowledged the authority (chair) of Moses held by the scribes and Pharisees and for this, he tells his followers to obey them and observe what they preach based on this authority that they possess. A gathering without a leader, without someone exercising authority, everything falls apart. Jesus knew the importance of authority, that is why he gave Peter the keys of the Kingdom and made him head of the church.
Today, there is chaos in the body of Christ because of the lack of respect for the chair of Moses. Men and women of God today consider themselves as their own authority. This has brought about competition as well as abuses in churches that are being established every now and then.
Jesus also pointed out the fact that even though the scribes and Pharisees were preaching the truth, they were not living out the truth. Jesus said, practice what they tell you but not what they do. No wonder Jesus referred to them often as hypocrites – whitewashed tombs which outwardly appear beautiful but are full of dead men’s bones inside.
All through His public ministry, Jesus sought to correct this abnormally, he tried to make them understand that the washing of the cup must begin from the inside that God is not moved by external show of religiosity but instead of accepting the truth, they were determined to kill Jesus.
We may lie to the world about who we are but we can never lie to God. The worst kind of life (and the most miserable too), is living in pretence; projecting a false image of yourself like an actor on stage. Funnily, the movie tends to come to an end too quickly and the audience are shown who the real characters are. As Jesus said: “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” (Luke 12:2)
Am I a religious leader who does not practice what he or she is preaching? Do I have skeletons in my cupboard? Am I simply doing God’s work just for the fame and material benefits? Am I really living out the life that my title connotes? These are very important questions for our self-examination today.
As we celebrate the Queenship of Mary, we ponder on Mary’s humility before God. Mary was so humble and ordinary that to this day, many Christians continue to think of her as just and “envelop” used and dumped by God. In her humility, God has now raised her to glory. Jesus said: “whoever exalts himself will be humbled but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, free me from pride and from pretence. Amen.
Bible Study: Ezekiel 43:1-7, Psalm 85:9-14, Matthew 23:1-12).