30 Oct – Thirty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time
God’s Message Of Eternal Life
How easy it is for human pride to falsify God’s message, to make capital out of it. Today let us honour God in humility, sincerity and truth,
– The Sunday Missal
I am a great king, says the Lord of Hosts, and my name is feared throughout the nations. And now, priests, this warning is for you. If you do not listen, if you do not find it in your heart to glorify my name, says the Lord of Hosts, I will send the curse on you and curse your very blessing. But you, you have strayed from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your teaching. You have destroyed the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of Hosts. And so I in my turn have made you contemptible and vile in the eyes of the whole people in repayment for the way you have not kept to my paths but have shown partiality in your administration.
Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why, then, do we break faith with one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors?
1 Thessalonians 2:7-9.13
Like a mother feeding and looking after her own children, we felt so devoted and protective towards you, and had come to love you so much, that we were eager to hand over to you not only the Good News but our whole lives as well. Let me remind you, brothers, how hard we used to work, slaving night and day so as not to be a burden on any one of you while we were proclaiming God’s Good News to you.
Another reason why we constantly thank God for you is that as soon as you heard the message that we brought you as God’s message, you accepted it for what it really is, God’s message and not some human thinking; and it is still a living power among you who believe it.
Addressing the people and his disciples Jesus said, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi.
‘You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.’
You accepted it for what it really is, God’s message and not some human thinking
I have noticed that there is some respect that has been accorded to people in authority. This is heartening especially in this society where the concept of respect has been eroded due to the growth of the ‘I’. The readings today perhaps give us an insight of why the respect for the people in authority has diminished over time.
The first reading shares with us how it is important to listen to the Word of God in our lives or else risk proving to be a counter-example to all through our behaviour that is unbecoming of a Christian. Listening to the Word of God is certainly the first step but we must be prepared to accept it whole-heartedly with no bargaining. That was what pleased St Paul in the second reading. Sometimes it is disconcerting to follow God’s Word especially when it goes again the way of the world but this is what we must do.
We pride ourselves on having developed our intellectual capacity to the greatest extent and hence are able to use reason to justify our actions. This is clearly not the case in the Church; we have to submit to the teachings of the Church no matter how difficult it is. Perhaps the last verse of the Gospel is instructive: We need to humble ourselves in our thoughts, actions and speech in order to receive the heavenly reward that will belong to us. Humility is the beginning of what will be a meaningful and loving relationship journey with God.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Lord, grant us the humility to accept your Word in our hearts.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who bear calumny for Christ.
Mon, 31 Oct – Romans 11:29-36; Luke 14:12-14
Tue, 01 Nov – Revelations 7:2-4.9-14; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12; Solemnity of All Saints
Wed, 02 Nov – Wisdom 3:1-9 or Isaiah 25:6-9; Romans 5:5-11; Matthew 11:25-30; Memorial of All Souls
Thu, 03 Nov – Romans 14″7-12; Luke 15:1-10; Memorial for St Martin de Porres, Religious
Fri, 04 Nov – Romans 15:14-21; Luke 16:1-8; Memorial for St Charles Borromeo, Bishop
Sat, 05 Nov – Romans 16:3-9; Luke 16:9-15
Sun, 06 Nov – Wisdom 6:12-16; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13; Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time