Once again, in today’s Gospel, Jesus is expressing His displeasure with the Pharisees and goes after them for their efforts at attaining status within their society. Public honor and status were highly prized in the culture of the time. Most of the generous giving for public parks, baths and temples was not so much to provide for the people but with gaining honor among the people. The donor’s name would be clearly inscribed for all to see. In a sense, things haven’t really changed very much since that time. People still seek status.

Jesus never sought honor or prestige for Himself, nor did He want His followers to look for it, even though they were prone to doing so, each one competing to appear important.

The mother of James and John wanted her sons to have the most prominent seats in the kingdom of God. But according to Jesus we should direct all honor to God and not seek it for ourselves or our families. All the good things we do should be for the honor of God and not to for our own glory. At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus invites us to, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” +

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