Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
(Isaiah 1:10.16-20; Matthew 23:1-12)
Gordon Cosby died last year. He was the pastor of the Church of the Savior in Washington, D.C. for many, many years. It has been said that Gordon never wrote a book, talked with a President, or traveled around the country preaching. But he enabled other people to do so by his wisdom, faithfulness, and pastoral care. Gordon never wanted to be called “Reverend” and told people who want to apply the title to him to just say “Gordon.” Certainly Gordon Cosby typifies the kind of community member that Jesus has in mind in today’s gospel.
Jesus’ words may challenge traditional concepts of Church authority. He seems to be calling for an egalitarianism that only groups such as the Quakers have in their assemblies. But throughout the Gospel of Matthew Jesus maintains a role of leadership for his twelve apostles. What today’s passage means then is that the apostles and their successors should be first in service of others, not first in line for privilege. Like Pope Francis they are to spend themselves building up the People of God.
Jesus’ commands apply to all members of the Church. We are to serve one another in love. There should be no pretentiousness among us, but we should look at one another and see Jesus.