Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Bulletin Date: 
Sunday, November 5, 2017

Living what we believe

The readings for this weekend are most apt for our times. Malachi has strong words for the religious leaders for his time. We hear words of anger and denouncing. What we do not hear is how the priests have been pretending. They were taking blind animals, blemished animals, lame animals to be sacrificed at the altar of the Lord. They were bringing pretend offerings while “re-taining” or “holding back” what was real and holy to the Lord.

Our First Reading begins with a proclamation of the kingship of God. We hear a threat to the priests of the liturgical rites. They all are children of the “one God” Who has created them all. If they continue the misuse of their God-given powers, then terrible things will happen to them. By the misuse of their gifts, others have fallen by the way. They have tended to themselves and not extended the keeping of the Law justly to all of God’s people.

Jesus speaks to his disciples and to the Jewish crowd in today’s Gospel. Jesus is inviting them to adhere to the demands of the Law of Moses, but as for those who interpret the Law for their own benefit, do not follow what they do. Those “pretenders” hold in front of themselves religious symbols. Phylacteries are containers affixed to arms and or foreheads possessing important verses of the Law. These will impress the people who see these and judge that those who wear them are as holy as the verses themselves. Jesus is reminding His listeners that it is not what one wears outside that makes a person a follower of God’s ways. It is not the name “teacher” or “father” or “master” which make a person a reflection of God’s holiness.

Jesus has said it elsewhere, that becoming a servant, a child, a humble person, are ways of revealing true godliness. Jesus lives what He is preaching and invites His followers to do likewise.

God Bless!! Fr. Elmer