THE WEEK OF SEPTUAGESIMA – WEDNESDAY
LESSON: PSALM 138:1-6
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5
The Gospel (Matthew 20:1-16) does not simply speak of those who are “first” and “last” in an ordinary sense as, for example, the mighty ones of this world, who are heathen and know nothing of God, are nothing in God’s sight. It speaks of those who have persuaded themselves that they are the “first” or “last” before God.
There it aims very high and hits some very important people; indeed, it is most disturbing for the greatest of the saints.
This is why Jesus told this parable to His apostles. For it can happen that one who is quite poverty-stricken in the eyes of the world, weak and despised, who has even suffered something for God’s sake and gives no appearance at all of amounting to anything, still nurtures secret ideas of self-satisfaction and begins to think that he is the “first” before God when he is actually the “last.”
On the other hand, even if anyone is so despondent and weak that he regards himself as the “last” before God, despite the fact that in the world he enjoys money, honor, and good things, he is the “first.”
PRAYER: Empty us, O Lord, of all false pride and self-righteousness that, firmly trusting in your grace and mercy, we may always rank as those who are “first” in your sight, in and through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.