Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

(Ezekiel 34:1-11; Matthew 20:1-16)

The sports car wove in and out of three lanes as it moved up the highway. It easily exceeded the sixty mile per hour speed limit, perhaps reaching eighty or more. Its driver, succumbing to the same temptation as Eve in the garden, was acting as if he were a god. Defying both traffic laws and death, the driver evidently thought that the limitations which most humans are all too conscious of did not apply to him. We hear of the same kind of folly in the reading from Ezekiel today.

In that reading the prophet accuses the prince of Tyre of acting like a god. The prince has accumulated a hefty treasure perhaps without thinking to thank the Lord, much less to administer the wealth for the benefit of the needy. He shall learn the hard way, the prophet predicts, that he is vulnerable and even risible. He is not a god but a man doomed to an ignoble death.

Centuries later Jesus shows what real godly behavior looks like. He turns on end every social expectation of a god. He lords over no one. He does not even own anything. Rather he serves all, choosing to be last so that his Father, if it is his will, can make him first.