Saturday, August 27, 2011

Service of Authority

Saturday, August 20, 2011
20th Week Year I
Matthew 23:9-10

Jesus tells his followers that they should not want to be called “Rabbi” or “Father” or “Teacher”.  He is using a bit of rhetorical hyperbole here, using an exaggerated statement in order to make a point.  Just as we do not feel obliged to take Him literally when He says we ought to tear out our eye if it gives us trouble, so we do not have to feel guilty for calling our priests or our Dads “Father”.  The point that Jesus wants us to get is that we should not be concerned about titles of honor, marks of respect, or what advantage to our egos we can obtain by being experts in Catholic theology or observance.  Pope Benedict said at his inauguration Mass that his being Pope was not about honor, but about service.  St. Francis saw the position of authority as one of serving the brethren and wanted the “superiors” of his order to be called “ministers” or “guardians”.  St. Clare exhorts the abbess in her rule to lead the sisters by holiness of life rather than by her office.  She herself thought it a privilege to perform all the lowliest tasks of the monastery.  Jesus, the Son of God Most High emptied Himself for love of us to become our servant so that we could join Him for all eternity in the happiness of the heavenly kingdom.  He has given us the Eucharist and the indwelling Holy Spirit so that we can follow His example. Let us do so.

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