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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)

07 November 2023

Mt 23:1-12 - ... Do not be called 'Master'; you have but one master, the Christ. ...

Mt 23:1-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,"The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things what so ever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carryand lay them on people's shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi. 'As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.' You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called 'Master'; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."


When I look at my life, at my behavior, my words and deeds, sometimes I ask myself: are they similar to the spirit of Jesus Christ, the same Christ whom I preach from this ambone, dressed in a beautiful, gold or green chasuble. In order to be able to ask the same question, I must answer this question first, myself, I the priest, who is observed by all of you, not only observed, but also rightly judged. Because to demand something, I have to respect it myself, to encourage others to read the Word of God, I have to read the Bible every day, to encourage you to confess your sins I have to be the first the line to the confessional. It is difficult for the faithful to convert when shepherds do not convert themselves, it is difficult to discern God's will if they hear political reflections instead of the Word of God during sermons. It's hard for them to fast and do penance if the priests get in the car and go out to have fun. Of course, we cannot generalize and say that everyone is like that, but we see now, probably more than ever before, a crisis of the authority of priests and monks, which unfortunately turns into hypocrisy, hiding behind titles and dignities, escaping from the truth, seeking recognition and glory not from God but from people. The faithful become scandalized, leave the Church, stop confessing, stop receiving Holy Communion, they become scandalized in their faith and in the end, they too become Pharisees, turning into critics of God and the Church. The devil's circle is closing, ruling and destroying the Church. How to get out of this impasse? Maybe as Jesus says: focus not on the form, but on the content, not on the priest, but on God whom he represents, even if it is difficult to understand, and to accept that such a man can represent God. In God's Church, just like in a box, there are different tools: some are blunt, some are sharp, some are used, some are new, some are stubborn, some are easy to use. God can both for something good, to strengthen us, or to convert us. I remember how in the seminary fathers sometimes told us about this or that father who left priesthood or was a drunkard and ruined his life. At first, I was shocked and couldn't understand how this was possible, but then I understood that God was warning me through these examples so that I wouldn't do the same in my priestly life. Or one of my students was afraid of confession because the priest would probably shout at her. He could not understand that confession is a meeting with God and not with a priest who may react differently, but who cannot cover God. Therefore, do and observe whatever they tell you, but do not imitate their deeds. For they speak, but they do not do it themselves. It's true, many priests do not live with God. They live for money, cars, trips, politics, but all this should not be an excuse for me to leave the Church, to be offended by God, to abandon the life of faith, to be constantly angry and scandalized? Will I justify myself internally before God and put a veil of anger over my heart? If I do this, it means that I do not understand what this faith is about, I do not understand its proper meaning, I do not understand what the Church is. If one piece of the machine is broken, it does not mean that the entire machine is garbage. If a few priests have fallen and lost their priesthood, it does not mean that the entire Church is worthless and now I can throw God into the garbage of my life. I like the words of Christ from today's Gospel: Let the greatest among you be your servant. He who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Everyone will one day receive a just reward for their lives, especially those who are closest to God, His priests. However, God will judge and condemn, not us. He will judge all, and his judgment will be right.

Father Marcin Cwierz, OSPPE

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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)  

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