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Daily Devotional for December 13

December 13                                               Matthew 23: 1-12

Jesus cites three of the great sins of religious authorities in
today's passage: hypocrisy, heartless lack of charity, and

We could spend a great deal of time castigating preachers for
these great sins, as familiar today as they were then, but that
would be missing Jesus' point. Jesus is not addressing the
religious authorities here but "the crowds" and "his disciples."
The real issue is our response to the imperfections of religious
authorities. Jesus gives a clear principle: Do as they say but
not necessarily as they do.

It is disconcerting when those we admire and trust for bring-
ing us the good news are revealed as being imperfect. We may
be tempted at such times to give up our faith and consider
it all a hypocrisy, or to condemn them, or to conclude that
we are better than they. Jesus does not teach us such behavior;
rather, he exhorts us to remain faithful to the truth and to
persevere in our spiritual life, even though our teachers may
have fallen.

Pride stands back and smugly condemns religious leaders for
their sins, which are magnified because of the leaders' public
position. Rather than exalting ourselves by adopting a posture
of condemnation, we may need to say, "There but for the grace
of God go I." That is why Jesus says, "All those who exalt
themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves
will be exalted."

      Dear Creator, help me today to humble rather than
   exalt myself. Keep me faithful to your Word, and touch
        those spiritual leaders among us who need your
                             healing touch. Amen.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.


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