Saturday, May 25, 2002
In response to my poser on Matt 23, a reader replies:
posted by Kensy |
What Jesus is saying in Matthew 23:9-10 is not that we literally can't call people "father", but rather that we should be humble. We are sometimes teachers and fathers to others, but shouldn't let it go to our heads, since God so much greater a Father and Teacher than we'll ever be. Similarly, in Luke 14:26 ("If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother ... he cannot be my disciple."), Jesus isn't saying that we must literally hate one's family, but rather that we should love Jesus even more than we love those dearest to us.
In any case, as I said earlier, the Catholic practice of calling priests "father" comes straight from the Bible - the Apostle Paul calls himself a father of Christians:
1 Corinthians 4:14-15
"I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel."