Tuesday of the 2nd week of Lent

Matthew 23:1-12 

They do not practise what they preach

Addressing the people and his disciples Jesus said, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi.

  ‘You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.’

Isaiah 1:10,16-20 

Cease to do evil; learn to do good

Hear the word of the Lord,

you rulers of Sodom;

listen to the command of our God,

you people of Gomorrah.

‘Wash, make yourselves clean.

Take your wrong-doing out of my sight.

Cease to do evil.

Learn to do good,

search for justice,

help the oppressed,

be just to the orphan,

plead for the widow.

‘Come now, let us talk this over,

says the Lord.

Though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red as crimson,

they shall be like wool.

‘If you are willing to obey,

you shall eat the good things of the earth.

But if you persist in rebellion,

the sword shall eat you instead.’

Psalm 49(50):8-9,16-17,21,23 

I will show God’s salvation to the upright.

‘I find no fault with your sacrifices,

  your offerings are always before me.

I do not ask more bullocks from your farms,

  nor goats from among your herds.

I will show God’s salvation to the upright.

‘But how can you recite my commandments

  and take my covenant on your lips,

you who despise my law

  and throw my words to the winds,

I will show God’s salvation to the upright.

‘You do this, and should I keep silence?

  Do you think that I am like you?

A sacrifice of thanksgiving honours me

  and I will show God’s salvation to the upright.’

I will show God’s salvation to the upright.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Christmas mystery

525 Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family. Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven’s glory was made manifest. The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night:

The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal 

And the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible. 

The angels and shepherds praise him 

And the magi advance with the star, 

For you are born for us, 

Little Child, God eternal!

526 To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom. For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become “children of God” we mu–t be “born from above” or “born of God”. Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us. Christmas is the mystery of this “marvelous exchange”:

O marvelous exchange! Man’s Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity.