Tuesday 23 August 2022

About Today Readings

St Rose of Lima

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 14-17. The Lord comes to judge the earth – Psalm 95(96):10-13. Matthew 23:23-26.

True servant leadership

I was interested to find out that Saint Rose of Lima, renowned for her ascetism and devotion, is also the patron saint of embroiderers. This is because she would do lace and other needlework and sell these handicrafts to raise money for the poor. A reminder, then, that sometimes the humble work of the hands can do God’s work in myriad ways. This contrasts with how the Scribes and Pharisees behave because they are anything but humble. Jesus excoriates them because they neglect the weightier matters – justice, mercy and faith – by being concerned with the trivial and the execution of the small rigid legalisms of Jewish religious practice. He calls them hypocrites because they want to be seen to be good, without necessarily being good at heart. He calls out their superficiality and false appearance. He suggests that they clean both the inside and the outside of the cup which means that true outward goodness starts on the inside and is illuminated on the outside. Jesus also uses humour to make his point calling them blind guides and saying they would strain out a gnat and swallow a camel. This is amusing imagery, a comedic touch for his audience. They could see that their religious leaders were showy and shiny, not humble and heartfelt. This is a timeless lesson for us as we watch various forms of leadership around the world and see that it is true servant leadership that binds people together as a cohesive worshipping community.

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