July 21, 2018

“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight…” Matthew here gives us an editorial comment regarding Jesus. He refers to the suffering servant song in Isaiah 53. Despite the opposition of the Pharisees, Jesus responds with patient gentleness.

The hardness of heart of the Pharisees was prompted by Jesus healing a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. The fact that Jesus had bested them in so doing drove them to want to do away with Jesus. Such was their hardness of heart.

We may wonder why they seemed so blind. It was pride. They were so proud of their righteousness, their religious standing in the community, and their interpretation of the Law. They held anyone who challenged their understanding in contempt. The first reading from Micah fits surprisingly well with the gospel: “Woe to those who plan iniquity, and work out evil on their couches.” And the psalm response seeks to reassure us: “Do not forget the poor, O Lord!”

The lesson for us here is not to blame the Pharisees, but to realize that pride is a besetting sin that all the saints have warned against. Father Eymard often reproached himself in his retreat notes for his pride. He was in such demand as a preacher that he was afraid that he was laboring for his own glory and not that of God. Pride can blind us to goodness, especially in people we might not like.

Do I criticize or look down on people who do not think the way I do or espouse a different value system?

Let Us Pray:

Dear Lord, open my heart so that I can recognize goodness wherever it is found and give you glory for it. And let me extend your care for the poor to all that I can.


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)



About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015.