Read­ing Time: 3 minutes



Hav­ing silenced the Phar­isees on the issue of the greatest com­mand­ment, Jesus now con­fron­ted them on one issue. With the con­clu­sion that the entire Jew­ish com­mand­ment hangs on the love of God and of neigh­bour, Jesus asked the Phar­isees, “What do you think of the Mes­si­ah? Whose son is he? They said to him, the son of Dav­id” (Matt 22:42). But if the Mes­si­ah is the son of Dav­id, how come Dav­id, through the empower­ing of the Holy Spir­it, called him Lord? And if Dav­id called him Lord, how can he be his son? (Matt 22:43–45). After this extraordin­ary inter­ven­tion, Mat­thew notes that “no one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did any­one dare to ask him any more ques­tions” (Matt 22:46). To the ques­tions of the Phar­isees, the Hero­di­ans, and the Sad­ducees con­cern­ing the pay­ment of tax (Matt 22:15–22), the resur­rec­tion (Matt 22:23–33) and the most import­ant com­mand­ment (Matt 22:34–40), Jesus provided con­crete and con­vin­cing answers. But when Jesus asked them one ques­tion, they could not provide an adequate answer. With his obser­va­tion of their reply to the iden­tity of the mes­si­ah, Jesus silenced the Jew­ish author­ity, say­ing that they could not ask him fur­ther ques­tions. Hence, Jesus turned to his disciples.

Hypocrisy and humility

The greatest among you will be your ser­vant. Who­ever exalts him­self will be humbled, but who­ever humbles him­self will be exal­ted” (Matt 23:11–12). To the hypo­crisy and lord­ship of the scribes and the Phar­isees, Jesus sub­sti­tutes ser­vice and humil­ity. Who­ever parades him­self or her­self as teach­er, fath­er, and mas­ter can­not serve and can­not be humble. A ser­vant prac­tices what he/she says; a ser­vant does not sound a trum­pet con­cern­ing his/her reli­gious observ­ances; a ser­vant does not take front seats in the church and in pub­lic places; a ser­vant does not want to be greeted in the mar­ket place or along the road; a ser­vant does not tie bur­dens on oth­ers; a ser­vant is not pre­sump­tu­ous. A ser­vant always makes him­self or her­self avail­able for others.


Hypo­crisy and pride lead to the break­ing of faith in God and to the pro­fan­ing of God’s name and the cov­en­ant with God. This is the essence of the words of Mala­chi in the First Read­ing (Mal 1:14–2:2.8–10). An ordained per­son who attaches import­ance to his titles and to his social status will cer­tainly not glor­i­fy God. Such priests will always stray and stumble and will cause oth­ers to do the same. The same thing is applic­able to Chris­ti­ans. A proud Chris­ti­an will cer­tainly show par­ti­al­ity in his or her admin­is­tra­tion. Like Paul and his fel­low work­ers, Chris­ti­ans should not be a bur­den to one anoth­er (cf. Second Read­ing). If the scribes and the Phar­isees were listen­ing, they must have under­stood that Jesus was refer­ring to them when he says, “Who­ever exalts him­self will be humbled, and who­ever humbles him­self will be exal­ted.” Accord­ing to the Greek term, to exalt one­self is to present and think of one­self bet­ter than oth­ers. On the oth­er hand, hum­bling one­self is a vol­un­tary sub­mis­sion. That is, not­with­stand­ing one’s pos­i­tion, a per­son vol­un­tar­ily sub­mits him­self or her­self to a lower status. This is exactly what Jesus did. A vol­un­tary sub­mis­sion that made Paul speak of Jesus thus “though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equal­ity with God as some­thing to be exploited, but emp­tied him­self, tak­ing the form of a slave, being born in human like­ness. And being found in human form, he humbled him­self and became obed­i­ent to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:6–8). This is the kind of humil­ity expec­ted of believers.

FOR DETAILS, GET YOUR OWN COPY OF THE BOOKTHE WORD OF LIFE: SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vol. I)!! The reflec­tion for the 30th Sunday is found on pages 512–522. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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