Matthew chapter 23, verses 1-12
I find chapter 23 of Matthew’s Gospel to be a cure for complacency. It is primarily, though not exclusively, addressed to people like me who preach and teach as ordained witnesses to the greatest of all traditions.
It is an honourable calling and brings with it the respect and trust of those to whom we minister. The responsibility of being a facilitator in the dialogue between, men, women and children and their God is like no other and carries with it a potential for awesome satisfaction as well as for an unwarranted sense of superiority that often expresses itself in arrogant disrespect for the so called “laity.”
This clerical malignancy, which had come to be identified with the Scribes (Lawyers) and Pharisees, must not, according to Jesus, gain as much as a foothold in the New Testament community. “Beware” says Jesus, then and now.
Beware of clerically induced decay within the Church. Whenever our faith is presented as a depressing affair of burdens and prohibitions …beware. Whenever ministers exalt themselves by creating honours and titles for themselves …beware. Seek out and support the truly humble among them. Beware of those who seek to demonstrate their piety, their charity and their wisdom.
Any interpretation of Christianity that fosters ostentation and pride is a false interpretation.
Every one of us, who, by virtue of our Baptism has accepted to be a minister of Jesus Christ, should take these warnings seriously. They are primarily for the ordained but not exclusively.
“Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto thine.” Amen.