To master humility one must serve God first and foremost|
The VerbumQUO for today is "minister", which is actually Latin for "servant", and, it is as a servant of God, that today's Epistle and Gospel emphasize the necessary humility required to be called 'master.'
Editor's Note: This is a new series the editor has launched in highlighting one word from the Proper of the day's Mass. Taking the Latin Verbum and Quotidianum, which mean respectively "Word" and "Daily", we we have coined the word "Verbumquo" by contracting quotidianum to quo and running it together as VerbumQUO for this feature series, thus "The Daily Word," as in the sum of the message, the 'quotient', if you will. It is also our hope that in choosing the Latin word with its meaning and etimology more will be attuned to hearing the word read at the altar and better comprehend the beauty of the Mother tongue. Hopefully in this Time of Lent we can gain a higher appreciation and contemplation on how the Daily Proper of the Holy Mass applies in our lives in alignment with the will of Christ and His Blessed Immaculate Mother and His Mystical Bride, His Holy Roman Catholic Church.
for Tuesday in the Second Week of Lent is minister
which many might think is the English noun most are familiar with, but it is really the Latin noun for "servant"
. The English translation of "minister" can be both a noun and verb, as "to minister".
It is interesting the derivation of the word "minister" in both Latin and English. Let us look at Webster's definitions:
"minister, servant" - adj., "[From the Latin minister (after magister: cf. MASTER) from root of minor less.] 1. a Archaic, A servant; attendant. b. Now Rare. An agent. 2. One duly authorized to conduct Christian worship, preach the gospel, administer the sacraments, etc.; esp., a priest; pastor; clergyman. 3. One to whom the sovereign or executive head of a government entrusts the management of affairs of state, or some department of such affairs. v.i. 1. To furnish; supply. 2. To administer; to dispense, as a sacrament; to apply. 3. To act as an attendant, or agent; to attend. 4. To do things needful or helpful to aid."
Note it is the alternative of magister which means Master and from which we get "Magisterium" as in the infallible, perennial Living Magisterium of the Church as the guardians of the Sacred Deposit of Faith preserved throughout the Primacy of Peter down through Pope Pius XII. We see both magister and minister in today's Gospel and can better see how the present 'masters', like Caiphas in Christ's time, are unworthy to be 'masters' and have forfeited the Chair. Today's Gospel of St. Matthew 23: 1-12 illustrates Christ's response:
In illo témpore: Locútus est Jesus ad turbas, et ad discípulos suos, dícens: "Super cáthedram Móysi sedérunt scribæ, et pharisæi. Omnia ergo quæcúmque díxerint vobis, serváte, et fácite: secúndum ópera vero eórum nolíte facere: dicunt enim, et non fáciunt. Alligant enim ónera grávia, et importabília, et impónunt in húmeros hóminum: dígito autem suo nolunt ea movére. Omnia vero ópera sua fáciunt, ut videántur ab homínibus: dilátant enim phylactéria sua, et magníficant fímbrias . Amant autem primos recúbitus in cœnis, et primas cáthedras in synagógis, et salutatiónes in fóro, et vocári ab homínibus Rabbi. Vos autem nolíte vocári Rabbi: unus est enim Magíster vester, omnes autem vos fratres estis. Et patrem nolíte vocáre vobis super terram, unus est enim Pater vester, Qui in Cælis est. Nec vocémini magístri: quia Magister vester unus est, Christus. Qui major est vestrum, erit miníster vester. Qui autem se exaltáverit, humiliábitur: et qui se humiliáverit, exaltábitur."
At that time, Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: "The scribes and the pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses, All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do; but according to their works do ye not: for they say and do not. For they bind heavy and insupportable burdens, and lay them on men's shoulders; but with a finger of their own they will not move them. And all their works they do for to be seen of men; for they make their phylacteries broad, and enlarge their fringes; and they love the first places at feasts, and the first chairs in the synagogues and salutations in the marketplace, and to be called by men Rabbi. But be not you called Rabbi; for one is your master, and all you are brethren; and call none your father upon earth, for one is your Father, Who is in Heaven; neither be ye called masters; for one is your master, Christ. He that is the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
If we understand today's Epistle from 3 Kings 17: 8-16, which precedes the above, we'll realize that Elias was a servant of God who humbled himself before a poor widow. It is the same Prophet Elias who appeared with Moses in Sunday's Gospel of the Transfiguration. Abbot Dom Gueranger explains it beautifully in volume 5 of The Liturgical Year for today:
"Elias, who is our faithful companion during Lent, is represented to us today as foreshadowing, in his own conduct, the treatment which God is one day to show towards His ungrateful people. A three years' drought had been sent upon the kingdom of Israel; but the people continued obstinate in their sins. Elias goes in search of some one that will provide him with food. It is a great privilege to entertain the prophet; for God is with him. Then, whither will he go? Is it to any family in the kingdom of Israel? Or will he pass into the land of Juda? He neglects them both, and directs his steps towards the land of the Gentiles. He enters the country of Sidon; and coming to the gates of a city called Sarephta, he sees a poor widow; it is to her that he transfers the blessing which Israel has rejected. Our Lord Himself has taken notice this event in the prophet's life, which portrays, in such strong colors, the justice of God, towards the Jews, and His mercy towards us Gentiles: 'In truth I say to you, there were many widows in the days of Elias in Israel: and to none of them was he sent, but to Sarepheta of Sidon, to a widow woman.' (St. Luke 4: 25-26)."
So you can see Christ Himself, refers to the Epistle of today. Elias, as the obedient servant allowed God to guide his steps toward the widow woman who by the circumstances of the Epistle account, became the servant, and a very symbolic one at that as Gueranger explains:
"So, then, this poor woman is a figure of the Gentile, who were called to the faith. Let us study the circumstances of this prophetic event. The woman is a widow; she has no one to defend or protect her: she represents the Gentiles, who were abandoned by all, and and had no one that could save them from the enemy of mankind. All the mother and her child have to live upon, is a handful of meal and a little oil: it is an image of the frightful dearth of truth, in which the pagans were living at the time when the Gospel was preached to them. Notwithstanding her extreme poverty, the widow of Sarephta receives the prophet with kindness and confidence; she believes what he tells her, and she and her child are saved: it is thus that the Gentiles welcomed the apostles, when these shook the dust from their feet and left the faithless Jerusalem. But what mean the two pieces of wood, which the widow holds in her hands? St. Augustine, St. Cesarius of Arles, and St. Isidore of Seville (who, after all, are but repeating what was the tradition of the early Church), tell us that this wood is a figure of the cross. With this wood the widow bakes the bread that is to support her; it is from the cross that the Gentiles receive life by Jesus, Who is the living Bread. Whilst Israel dies of famine and drought, the Gentile Church feeds abundantly on the heavenly wheat, and on the oil, which is the symbol of strength and charity. Glory then be to Him Who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 St. Peter 2: 9) of faith! But let us tremble at witnessing the evils which the abuse of grace has brought upon a whole people. If God in His justice has not spared a whole nation, but cast it off; will He spare you or me, if we dare to resist His call?"
Those are truly words to ponder and to take most seriously in this day and age which is far worse than even Elias' time for we can see the parallels with the faithless Israelites and the faithless people today who disregard the sum of God's laws and dismiss His holy will in favor of their own in picking and choosing what they want to believe. We can see what happened to the Israelites. Is there any doubt of what will happen to those who have turned their backs on the One True Church and even one iota of her teachings? In the Gospel yesterday Jesus said very clearly: "You will die in your sins." Why do we think we are masters who know better than the Master? We need to be servants. Let us see in today's Gospel what the Abbot has to say:
"The doctors of the law were sitting on the chair of Moses; therefore, Jesus bids the people abide by their teachings. But this chair - which, in spite of the unworthiness of them that sit on it, is the chair of truth - is not to remain long in Israel. Caiphas, because he is a high priest for the year, will prophesy; but his crimes have rendered him unworthy of his office; and the chair, on which he sits, is to be taken away and set in the midst of the Gentiles. Jerusalem, which is preparing to deny her Savior, is to be deprived of her honors; and Rome, the very center of the pagan world, is to possess within her walls that chair which was the glory of Jerusalem, and from which were proclaimed the prophecies so visibly fulfilled in Jesus. Henceforth, this chair is never to be moved, though all the fury of the gates of hell will seek to prevail against it; it is to be the unfailing source, at which all nations are to receive the teaching of revealed truth. The torch of faith has been removed from Israel, but it has not been extinguished. Let us live in its light, and merit by our humility that its rays ever shine upon us."
Do you see the parallels of Caiphas and the modern conciliar high priests who, because of their deviation from the Faith, have rendered them unworthy of their office. The Chair remains, the Primacy of Peter cannot be moved or destroyed, but the men who have bespoiled the Chair of Truth and those who have followed these false prophets will be punished if they do not repent and return to the fullness of truth. The Abbot tells of the causes and effects:
"What is it that caused Israel's loss? His pride. The favors he had received from God excited him to self-complacency; he scorned to be recognize any one for the Messias, who was not great in this world's glory; he was indignant at hearing Jesus say that the Gentiles were to participate in the grace of redemption; he sought to imbrue his hands in the Blood of the God-Man, and this because He reproached him for the hardness of heart. These proud Jews, even when they saw that the day of God's judgment was close upon them, kept up their stubborn haughtiness. They despised the rest of the world as unclean and sinners. The Son of God became the Son of Man. He is our Master, and yet He ministered to us, as though He were our Servant. Does not this show us how precious a virtue is humility? If our fellow-creatures call us master or father, let us not forget that no one is master or father but by God's appointment. No one deserves to be called master, but he by whose lips Jesus gives us the lessons of divine wisdom; he alone is truly a father, who acknowledges that his paternal authority comes from God alone; for the apostle says: 'I bow my knee to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom all paternity in Heaven and earth is named' (Ephesians 3: 14,15)."
So we can readily see how "servant" fits the VerbumQUO today and realize that He came for everyone, but on His terms, and the terms He laid down for and in His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. No man has the right to change that or diminish the price of the Cross. This is something that has escaped those who claim authority but have consequently apostasized from the Faith and turned their hearts cold. We must continue to be servants of and for God, serving only One Master. Though the politically correct boobs today would consider the holy, Catholic Abbot an "anti-Semite", we can clearly see they have done it to themselves and continue today the same rut they were in 2000 years ago. Will they ever learn? One has to wonder, and also wonder why haven't the conciliar "masters" learned from this Epistle and Gospel? They have available the greatest Teacher of them all and still the pupil insists on thinking he knows more. Talk about dunces! What don't they understand about: Learn from the Master? One thing for sure: they haven't learned that to master humility one must serve God first and foremost.
Michael Cain, editor, DailyCatholic