Saturday in the 20th Week of Ordinary Time

The Church is not just something that has sacraments. The Church herself is a sacrament. She is formed by the sacraments given to her by Christ, and made into one great sacrament for all the world to see. A key attribute of a sacrament, though, is that it refers to a reality beyond itself. The scribes and Pharisees that Jesus denounces in today’s gospel, however, do not point to anything greater. They do not strive for goodness that people might recognize God’s goodness, or show people love in order for them to experience God’s love. What they do, they do for themselves.

If we are to avoid the self-righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus condemns in today’s gospel (cf. Mt. 23:5), we need to point people to God. And as Pope Benedict noted in his 2009 Christmas homily, “God’s sign is His humility. God’s sign is that He makes Himself small; He becomes a child; He lets us touch Him and He asks for our love.” God is worthy of every title, but He sets them aside to come be with us. If we wish to truly show God to other people, this is likewise our mission–to set aside every title, every claim to greatness and strength, and then go to be with others. In being small, we can be a great sacrament of God.

August 26th, 2017