Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
Isaiah 1:10,16-20 + Matthew 23:1-12
“You have but one Father in heaven.”
Sometimes this verse is quoted against Catholics, who address their priests as “Father”. However, you don’t at the same time hear the New Testament Letter to Philemon quoted, where Saint Paul says, “I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment” (verse 10). Are these words of Saint Paul un-biblical, and un-Christian?
Or ought we, rather, look at today’s Gospel passage in its own scriptural context? Scripturally, the first and last verses of today’s Gospel passage help us see the meaning of Jesus’ words: “You have but one Father in heaven.”
Jesus begins by pointing out the contradiction of the scribes and Pharisees. They legitimately hold the “chair of Moses”, but the choices of their lives are illegitimate. They do not practice what they preach. These first words of the passage present the problem.
The passage’s last words present the answer: “Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Everything in between is a means to this end. Today, then, reflect on this question: “How often do I pray specifically to God the Father, and nurture my relationship with Him as if I were indeed a humble child of His?”