March 7, Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
Isaiah 1:10, 16-20, Matthew 23:1-12
The Pharisees were highly regarded in Israel during the time of the Lord since they held authority in both religion and politics. Their words were almost as unbreakable as the law and tradition they enforced, making them essential pillars of Jewish culture and society.
However, Jesus saw through their mask of self-righteousness, and He did not hesitate to bring them down. In today’s Gospel, we find Him calling them out for their hypocrisy and misguiding the people in faith. He pulls back the thick curtain of tradition and their intricate vestments that hide their actual identities: self-indulging individuals who want all the glory for themselves. For the Lord, no consequence is huge enough to stop Him from unveiling their ungodly and selfish desires to the entire world.
When we were baptized, we received the three-fold mission of Christ: priest, prophet, and king. As Christians, we are called to be kings like Jesus who wields power through servant leadership instead of the pretentiousness of the Pharisees. Jesus never hesitated to go to the peripheries to be with the sick. He did not brush off sinners but went to their homes and ate with them. Huge crowds formed wherever He went, and He did not have to wear kingly robes or a bejeweled crown to call their attention. In fact, even with their distinctive religious mantle with broad phylacteries and broad fringes, the Pharisees were still no match against our wounded Lord with just a crown of thorns and a scarlet robe.
We may not be donning the extravagant clothing and pompous influence of the Pharisees right now. Nevertheless, we are still prone to becoming slaves to our own self-righteousness. Praying all the time only to push people away is against the will of our Eternal Master. Teaching others to forgive but letting hate consume our hearts is not the Christian way.
To become a servant leader, we must first wash ourselves clean of sin and dedicate our lives to the noble mission of mercy and compassion.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.