Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
(Isaiah 1:10.16-20; Matthew 23:1-12)
People today want to be “cool.” That is, they want to be noticed. Even if being cool means committing an injustice, they want to be known as someone that matters. This warped desire conflicts directly with Jesus teaching in today’s gospel.
Jesus is giving instructions to his followers and to Jewish peasants. He admonishes the former to avoid the hierarchies of the Jewish leaders who vaunt themselves with titles. He consoles the humble who feel the onus of those same leaders’ laws. To both groups he recommends service without self-seeking. He promises them a due reward in their common Father’s Kingdom.
We should be questioning our motives as part of our Lenten examination of conscience. Do we act to serve others or are our actions motivated by the desire to be looked up to? Alternatively, do our actions cause others to give thanks to God or do they make their lives more difficult? Now is the time to rectify both motives and deeds. As Isaiah says, though our offenses be as odious as blood on snow, they may become as pure as lamb’s wool.