Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.
They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi.
But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
I remember when one of my high school coaches talked to the team about receiving our game-day jerseys. He told us to remember that, when we wore them, we represented not only ourselves, but our families and teammates. We represented the school and all those who walked its halls over its 150-year history. Play, act, and know that you are part of something larger than yourself.
I like to use this image in my own spiritual life. Whom do I represent? With whom do I identify?
When we introduce ourselves to others, do we attach pompous titles – “Rabbi” or “Master?” Do we live for our own glory and praise or in a humble, authentic, and loving way – the way our families and friends have shown us?
Encounter someone, your brother or sister and carry in your heart your fundamental identity: a beloved child of God.
Lord, fill me with your Spirit so I will live your words, “The greatest among you will be your servant.” As I touch pathways with many different people this day, give me your eyes to see each as a beloved child of God.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Please share the Good Word with your friends!