Mt23:1-12 To Practice And To Preach
“Treat others as you would have them treat you.” Or, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
These words have radically changed the laws of our humanity. They are the anti-thesis of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. One is divine, the other is diabolic. The first is forever new, the second is well, second-natured. Those who live by Christ's words may not realize how radical they are. They were brought up to think that this is simply human. However, step outside for a moment and it won't take long to realize that Christ’s words are still being...evaluated.
With the de-Christianization of the West, which means the “de-humanization of man”, we find ourselves re-living an all too familiar reality, so common among barbarians: “I will do this for you, if you do this for me.” Or, “I will help you if you help me.” Or, “I will scratch your back if you scratch mine.”
Do I see the subtle difference in what Christ says and in what we say?
Following others is not our strong point as Americans. We pride ourselves of thinking we are independent thinkers. But we are influenced by many forces - too many to list here. Christ spoke to the crowds and to his disciples with authority. His authority came from his Father and we recognize it to be true because it rings true. He could easily have told his followers to rid themselves from the tyrannical Pharisees. Instead, He tells his little flock to obey whatever they say because they sit in positions of authority. His only warning is simple: do not do what they do.
Today, far too many Catholics dissent over Church teachings. The Lord reminds all of us to follow the teachings of the Church. Follow the Bishops of the Church, regardless of whether or not they live what they preach because they speak the truth.
Our Bishops have gone through rough times. In the past, some had listened far too long to secular voices, of pyschologists and of lawyers, rather than the voice of the Holy Spirit. But never have their failings turned into failed teachings, and their message is becoming clearer and clearer. Our way of life helps the Church’s message hit home. Issues such as the sanctity of marriage, of family, the gift of children and life, of the rights of the elderly and of the sick are strikingly painful yet truthful. Why is there so much pain among us? Why so many obsessive behaviors? Is it not related to dysfunctions in the family and in the messages being transmitted by the so-called “fashionable?” As our young prepare for graduation – they need to package themselves – sell themselves. How do they package themselves? With what items do they carry with them? Do they practice what they preach? Maybe. But what is it that they preach? I will help you if you help me?
Christ’s message is radical, as radical as it gets, as radical as two thousand years ago. Christ is not from another age, He is from another world!
It is not enough to just practice what you preach, but to practice to the greatest extent what Christ preached; to be an example of life for others.