Mass Readings: March 23

First: Jeremiah 18:18-20
Resp: Psalm 31:5-6,14-16
Gospel: Matthew 20:17-28

CRUCIFYING SELFISHNESS

"It cannot be like that with you." –Matthew 20:26

There is an attitude, a way of reasoning, which comes natural to us. This attitude is steeped in selfishness and is very displeasing to the Lord. It is expressed in the words of Jeremiah's persecutors. They thought this way: "Let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah. It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests, nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets" (Jer 18:18). Justice was ignored and violence planned with few qualms of conscience because the conspirators against Jeremiah were blinded by the "logic" of selfishness.

In doing whatever it took to seek a top rank in Jesus' kingdom, James, John, and their mother ignored Jesus' call to the cross and the welfare of the other apostles (see Mt 20:21). The "logic" of selfishness was used to justify stepping on people and even trying to manipulate God.

The chief priests and elders refused to answer Jesus' question about the origin of John's baptism. "They thought to themselves, 'If we say "divine," He will ask us, "Then why did you not put faith in it?"; while if we say, "merely human," we shall have reason to fear the people, who all regard John as a prophet' " (Mt 21:25-26). Truth was not even an issue. It had been completely eclipsed by selfishness.

Blinded by selfishness, we try to justify abortion, rebellion, unforgiveness, gossip, slander, violence, etc. Blinded by selfishness, we think nothing of ignoring justice, love, and truth. Therefore, by God's grace, we must crucify our selfishness (see Gal 5:24) or we will continue to crucify the Lord (Heb 6:6).

PRAYER: Father, I decide to deny myself and take up my daily crosses (Lk 9:23).
PROMISE: "Such is the case with the Son of Man Who has come, not to be served by others, but to serve, to give His own life as a ransom for the many." –Mt 20:28
PRAISE: St. Toribio baptized and confirmed nearly a million native Americans.