Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Malachi 1: 14b – 2: 2b, 8-10
Keep your Promises!
Cursed be the cheat who has a male in the flock and vows to give it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished; for I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name is reverenced among the nations. (14)
These are words of warning by the prophet Malachi. We may make promises to God about various things. We may, for example, decide to spend a few minutes each day reading the word of God, but then easily slack off and not follow through on our promise. But if we do keep our promise to ourselves first, we will realize the benefit of striving to remain self-disciplined. We must ask the good Lord to help us remain disciplined. The word of God reminds us first and foremost how precious we are. Bearing that image in mind we will be able to withstand the wiles of the devil. We are renewed in mind when we continuously reflect on the word of God. We receive joy unexplainable and there is a calm confidence that reigns in our spirits. Therefore we must keep our promises!
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 131: 1, 2, 3
Song of Quiet Trust!
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore. (1-3)
Second Reading: First Thessalonians 2: 7b-9, 13
We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers. (13)
Praise God! If we are able to receive the Word of God as what it really is, we are truly blessed. Only God permits us the revelation and wisdom to grasp the word of God. Based on just our intelligence we will never be able to comprehend even a single word being proclaimed to us.
We praise and thank the Lord God our Father for his mercy on us. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Gospel: Matthew 23: 1-12
Therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. (3)
All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted. (12)
Do we preach a hypocrite’s sermon? Are we able to walk the talk? Only when we practice what we preach, can we venture to preach to anyone. Christ Jesus abhors pride. It is through pride that we cheat too! We cheat so that our flaws may not be known! But we are human and we must accept ourselves as we are flaws and all! We can ask the Lord Jesus Christ to show us the way. In asking the Lord, we show our humility too! Unless we walk in humility before God and our brethren, we will keep falling astray! The Lord allows the stubborn of the heart to remain hard-hearted! “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.” (Ps.81:11-12)
Human beings have free will to choose Life or Death at every moment! God loves us so dearly that he lets us have the opportunity to accept or reject him! He doesn’t enforce himself upon us!
We praise and thank God for his great mercy, in Jesus’ name Amen!