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Practicing What We Preach

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A (05/11/2023)

(Malachi 1:14b-2:2b, 8-10; Psalm 131:1-13; 1 Thessalonians 2:7b-9, 13; Matthew 23:1-12)

Fr. Samuel Odeh

“.. and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Practicing what we preach for any believer must be a lifetime commitment. Success is often achieved after numerous failures; just as we grow in our faith so too we grow also in our witnessing of that faith.  Today’s readings invite us to avoid ways that do not accurately represent God’s love, both in our preaching and practice of it. 

In our first reading from Malachi, the priests are accused of giving misleading instructions to the people, not listening, and not giving glory to God.  In our responsorial psalm, the psalmist’s hope in God has made them humble and content with the simpler things of life.  In our second reading from 1 Thessalonians St Paul thanks God that his audience first welcomed and accepted his preaching for exactly what it was, the word of God, which is now at work in them.  In the gospel reading from Matthew, Jesus cautions his listeners against following the flamboyant lifestyles of their religious leaders.  Instead, he insisted that those who lead in the Christian community must be servant leaders who give of themselves in humble service.

We could examine our own consciousness today to see if we are aware of any close resemblance in our lives to the behavior that Jesus condemned in today’s gospel reading.  We could also consider those qualities of soul and character that make effective witnessing possible such as courage, truthfulness, and a passion for justice.  What are the burdens and obstacles that keep us from fully living out our calling?  We pray that the life and love of Christ which we share through the Holy Spirit will continue to grow stronger in us so as to attract others to him.

.. for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers” (Matthew 23:8)

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