Wednesday of the Twenty-EighthWeek in Ordinary Time
The practicing of the authority
Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God … Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.” Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.” And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you ourselves do not lift one finger to touch them. Lk 11,42-46
Each of us, during the day, has some moments in which he acts for the service of the responsibility in the family, in the business or in other activities. Everyone, really, in more or less extensive areas, has to practice the authority and to take the role of “leader”, at least for himself. The today gospel allows us to meditate on how to behave on this matter. We have two ways: either through the ”authoritativeness” experience acquired by the expertise and the service, or relying to the weight of the role. In the first case the function of leader, even though institutional, is regained on the field with the practicing of the “diaconate”, namely the service; in the second the leader believes to be as such by right, acquired or inherited, and he considers correct to be served rather than to serve. The christian way of practicing the authority is through the diaconate, as Moses, Jesus, Peter, Paul and all the leaders in the history of the salvation have pursued. The diaconate is a comprehensive commitment, which involves the whole of the man, by night and day; it is addressed to every type of need, material and spiritual, and it starts from the assumption that the leader is the first to take the responsibility and to respect the rules. This way of practicing the authority confers an authoritativeness such that it is redundant to search it through the care of the image, the first seats in the assemblies and the greetings in the marketplaces. Those who held the position of the leader without having the skills and the spirit of service, but rather by practicing the right to be served, need to create an image, perhaps by giving weight to the authority of the role. This is the attitude of the pharisees who, in the today gospel, are unmasked by Jesus in no uncertain terms. The first rule of the pharisee was, and remains, to show in public respect for the rules which are minor, such as tithing of the mint and of the rue, to transgress in private the important rules of the justice and of the love for God and for the neighbor. The second is the search for the first places in the synagogues and for the greetings in the squares, so as to continuously feed the role of subjection of the others. The third is to charge the men of unbearable burdens, without themselves being subdued by it, as sometimes it happens for the taxes and for the contributions. It is the arrogance of the powerful people, which exists all over the time.