21 August, Saturday – Titles & Positions

Aug 21 – Memorial for St. Pius X, pope

St. Pius X (1835-1914) encouraged frequent Holy Communion. He reformed the liturgy, promoted clear and simple homilies, and brought Gregorian chant back to services. He also reorganised the Roman curia, the administrative elements of the Church, and worked against the modern antagonism of the state against the Church. His other contributions to the Church included: initiating the codification of canon law, promoting Bible reading by all the faithful, and supporting foreign missions. His will read: “I was born poor; I lived poor; I wish to die poor.”

  • Patron Saint Index

Ruth 2:1-3,8-11,4:13-17
Mt 23:1-12

You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called ‘Rabbi’, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers.

Someone I know was previously incensed about a ‘shake-up’ in his department. The management there decided to change the job titles and grades of the staff in his department, and the lack of communication and the way it was managed (or mismanaged) caused a bit of strife amongst the staff. The management had to hastily do some ‘damage control’, but the damage was already done.

We place great importance on our job titles — it shows progression on our CVs, and hierarchical importance in the chain of command. Even clients and customers would prefer to deal with someone who has authority, and that authority is seemingly depicted in the title on our business cards. It gives us a sense of importance, especially when our position is acknowledged by others.

Jesus issued a warning to his disciples, especially on the pursuit of titles. He must have known that it would be so easy for his disciples to be sucked into the practice of ‘vain glory’, and let the pursuit of the position overshadow the purpose of their work. The title was not important, it was the role. And Jesus reminds us not to go down the route of the scribes and Pharisees, lest we too forget the reason for our calling.

Jesus reminds us that we are all equal in God’s eyes. There is only one Rabbi, and only one God. We may be the president of the company, or a tea lady in the pantry; whatever our position in life, at the end of the day, when we stand before God to account for our lives here on earth, that position is not going to matter.

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted,” says today’s Gospel. Let us rid ourselves of the feeling of self-importance and remind ourselves that it is our service over self that will determine our true standing in heaven.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Annette Soo)

PrayerLord, forgive us for the times when we have allowed self-importance to overshadow our work, especially in our work for God. Help us to realize that it is not how close we are to a position of authority, but how we serve our brothers and sisters in Christ that matters.

ThanksgivingLord, we are thankful for our positions in life. Let us realize that the real privilege that comes with our positions is the ability to make a positive difference in someone else’s life.


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