One of the categories of Lenten resolutions is fasting, which we usually consider in terms of food, but really opens the door to various ways of practicing self-denial as a way of growing in spiritual self-mastery and not letting unhealthy or unholy passions drive us. We can live driven by passion, and some passions are good, because they are noble and holy, but we also know, as Our Lord reminds us, that other passions, such as selfish ambition, are bad. Whether we’re a hall monitor, manager, or CEO we know that ambition, pride, and vanity can blind us to the fact that the position of authority we hold is not just meant to be self-serving, but to serve others as well.
Honors, authority, titles and recognition should not be ends in and of themselves; that would be a sign that selfish ambition was driving us. We all have a tendency at times to seek self-promotion and self-aggrandizement. Why not “fast” from that this Lent? Why not take stock of whatever authority, duty, or responsibility you have received and make an effort to serve through it and to not be self-serving in carrying it out? Chances are that Lenten resolution will help your charity and prayer as well; charity in that you’re putting other people first, and prayer in that you’re asking Our Lord what you should do and how you should do it, not your ego.
Let’s ask Our Lord today how we can serve, not how we can be served, just as he taught the disciples to do.
Readings: Isaiah 1:10, 16–20; Psalm 50:8–9, 16b–17, 21, 23; Matthew 23:1–12. See also 20th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday, 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B, and 9th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday.