THE WEEK OF TRINITY XVII – SATURDAY
LESSON: MATTHEW 20:20‒28
“The tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:13‒14
St. Augustine adds a gloss at this point. I wish he had left it somewhere on the way because it smells of Adam’s cask. He says, “A ruler should not push the matter of humility too far lest the prestige of his government may be weakened thereby.” That is speaking like a heathen and worldling and not as a Christian. But we can forgive him this mistake; not even in the saints is everything perfect.
The sum and substance of this Gospel, then, is: Love and necessity are above all laws, and there is no law which should not be slanted and bent according to love. If this cannot be done with any particular law, it should be abolished, even if it has been set up by an angel from heaven. All this should be of great service in strengthening our hearts and conscience. On this basis, the Lord teaches us here how to humble ourselves and subject ourselves to others.
SL 11:1685 (27‒28)
PRAYER: Lord God, always look upon us in Your mercy and grace, and empty us of the false pride that so easily clings to us as children of Adam. Grant that we may walk in the paths of true humility, in and through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.