Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 23:1-12

Today’s gospel is part of a longstanding criticism of Jesus against the Scribes and the Pharisees (Mt 23, 1-39). Luke and Mark mentioned only a few lines of this criticism against the religious heads of the time. It is only the Gospel of Matthew which has a longer presentation of this. Our scripture reading is a warning against hypocrisy and a call to humility. More importantly, Jesus challenges those of us who have stopped going to mass/church or fellowship because of the behaviour of some religious spiritual leaders, those of us who have backslid from holiness because of the bad examples /influence of religious leaders, when He says “You must therefore do and observe what they tell you; but do not be guided by what they do, since they do not practice what they preach.” This instruction is timely because of the high hypocrisy among some leaders of the church.

We must adhere to the teachings of the Church irrespective of the behaviour of the members of the Church. In the face of multiple scandals, as a result of double standards in the life of religious leaders in our time, as it was in Jesus’ time all Christians must adhere to the instructions of our Lord, Jesus Christ.In truth, scandal should not discourage us who have truly experienced the love and power of God. We must not anchor our faith on any man, no matter how holy or “powerful” he or she may appear. Without underplaying the influence of mentorship, we must have Jesus as our primary mentor. We must anchor our faith on Christ the solid rock. We must develop faith that is beyond human scandal, a faith that is strong and mature, untouched by the unethical, unchristian behaviour or attitude of God’s minister. In conclusion, Jesus warns Christian leaders in Mark 9:42, “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.”

MASS: GREENMal. 1:14b-2:2b.8-10; Ps 131:1.2.3; 1 Thess. 2:7-9. 13; Accl. Matt 23:9b.10b; Matt 23:1-12 THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY OF THE YEAR (A)

Prayer points:

  1. Father forgive us for being hypocritical in our dealings. We want to honour You with every word that comes from our mouth and every action we take throughout the day. Holy Spirit, give us contrite hearts. Give us humility to see how far we are from being perfect and how badly we need You if we are ever going to live lives that glorify You. Help us to realize when we are being judgmental of others. Father, replace the judgmental spirit in all of us with your agape love. Help us to love You better. Amen

Exercise: Share this reflection with someone today.

Meditation: Romans 2:19-24

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