Tuesday of the Third Week

Readings

ZEP 3:1-2, 9-13

MT 21:28-32

Reflection

A common theme that runs throughout today’s readings is how our Father loves humility, and how He disdains pride, deceit, and an arrogant use of power. The reading from the book of Zephaniah says that the LORD will “remove from your midst the proud braggarts” from the city that “accepts no correction” but “will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly.” In Psalm 34, we hear that “the lowly will hear me and be glad,” and in the Gospel of Matthew, we hear Jesus telling chief priests and elders that “tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you.”

Jesus undoubtedly reproaches the chief priests and elders’ arrogance in not listening to John the Baptist because it sets a bad example for the Jewish people. But I think a deeper reason is because their arrogance makes it harder for them to hear God’s voice and accept His calling for their lives. He calls them out because He knows that only through humility can people truly draw close to the heart of God, and thus accept Christ’s invitation to a deeper relationship with Him.

We all have a desire to be known and loved, but sometimes we look for that love and sense of belonging in the wrong ways. I find that sometimes I try to put on masks or facades for other people and even God, believing they will admire me if I act like I have it all together in life. But the truth is this behavior does not lead to the peace and joy that the Lord intends and does not help us become the saints we are called to be. Jesus wants us to be authentic and humble people, people that live in accordance with the truth.

As we continue through Advent, I believe God is calling us to be honest with Him in prayer and authentic in our relationships with other people. When we are “real” with Him and other people, He can transform our hearts and make us channels of His love to other people, thus extending the Kingdom of God.

Sean Billings, ‘24
Theology and Religious Studies and Philosophy major
Escondido, CA