SATURDAY, September 19 (Theodore of Tarsus) Ember Saturday

Matthew 5:17-20. Whoever does [the commandments] and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven….Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

This scripture lesson is great good news for us, the ordinary people of God. We tend to give homage to those we deem important–scribes, Pharisees, the pope, archbishops, bishops, rectors, etc. This passage is the great leveler.

Jesus reminds us that it is not our position in life but our faithfulness in living and keeping the commandments that will make us great in the kingdom of heaven. This truth makes it possible for any of us, even those whom the world may deem the least, to be great in the kingdom of heaven.

But for this to happen, our righteousness must exceed that of even those scribes and Pharisees. And so this passage is also a call to vigilance in making sure we live up to the commandments to the fullest.

We are not alone in this task. We have Jesus, who came to fulfill the law, as our guide. And more than just guide, Jesus empowers us to be more than we can be alone.

PRAY for the Diocese of Southern Virginia (Prov. III, USA)

Ps 75, 76 * 23, 27; 2 Kings 2:1-18; 1 Corinthians 4:1-7

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