Posted March 18, 2014 by FLL Editorial Team in

Call no man father

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
Matthew 23:1-12

It is a difficulty that St. Paul against this command calls himself the teacher of the Gentiles (2 Tim 1:11); and that in monasteries in their common conversation, they call one another, Father. Jesus’ command is to be understood this way: it is one thing to be father or master by nature, another by obligation. Therefore when we call any man our father, we do it out of obligation to show respect to his age, not as regarding him by nature as the author of our being. We also call men ‘Master,’ from resemblance to a real master; and as by nature the One God and One Son do not prevent us from calling others gods and sons by adoption. So the One Father and One Master, do not preclude us from speaking of other fathers and masters by an abuse of the terms.

All men may be called brethren in affection, which is of two kinds, general and particular. Particular, by which all Christians are brethren; general, by which all men being born of one Father are bound together by like tie of kindred. So who calls no man father upon earth? Only he who in every action is done as before God, says: “Our Father, which art in Heaven.”

參考 References:
Catena Aurea (St. Thomas Aquinas)
De Virginitate Beatae Mariae (St. Jerome)
Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Origen)

FLL Editorial Team