31st Sunday in ordinary time year A

Malachi 1:14b-2:2b.8-10    1 Thes. 2:7-9.13   Mat. 23:1-12

Theme: A servant leader

On this 31st Sunday in ordinary time year A, the three readings we have today is saying something to us as children of God and Christians. In the 1st reading of today from the prophet Malachi, we see a strong message of warning to the religious leaders. This is because they use their words to mislead the people because of their selfish gains, instead of telling the people the truth as directed by the word of God. The words of the prophet Malachi are for all of us today as leaders on different levels. When you can share the word of the Lord with people, what do you do? Do you send a selfless message that is interpreted in the way it is expected of you? Or do you send your message in a way it will favour you, by not telling the people the truth, so that you will not be indicted or so that your  friends will not be indicted too? Unfortunately, some of us have allowed ourselves to be compromised and we can no longer tell the people the truth, we rather give a message that is different from what is expected from us.  

In the 2nd reading from St. Paul’s 1st letter to the Thessalonians, he presents to us a model of a true leader. He served the Thessalonian church with his companions selflessly. He served the people without been a burden on them and lived in his personal life what he preached to the people. This made his ministry fruitful among the people and they embraced the Christian life with sincerity. This was possible, most likely because the people saw it that Paul and his companions were practicing what they teach them. In our own time, this may be one of the greatest challenges in christiandom. There are a lot of compromises by Christians, and this has greatly affected the word of God that we carry and preach to people, because we don’t want to be indicted by those who listen to us and some of our friends who will be indicted by our preaching. As a result of this, we may decide to talk about something different or skip that aspect as we talk to the people. St. Paul had the confidence and boldness to speak to the people because he was practicing what he preached to the people in his own life.

Also, in the gospel reading of today, we see the anger of Jesus against the Scribes and Pharisees because they do not practice in their lives what they teach the people, and Jesus referred to them as Hypocrites. This is quite different in the case of St. Paul who practiced what he preached to the people in his own life. In the three readings we have for this Sunday, where can you situate yourself as a child of God and a Christian? It is expected that we all should be situated in todays 2nd reading like St. Paul and his companions. If we are not, the Lord is inviting us in a very special way today to retrace our steps and return to the right path, it is an invitation that we should take seriously now that we still have the time. Today we pray that through the intercession of St. Paul, God will grant us the grace to practice what we preach, in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit. Amen. Peace be with you.

31st Sunday in ordinary time year A, by Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.S.Sp