November 5, 2017

31st Sun., Ordinary Time

November 5, 2017:  Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

See a dozen connections with today?
Legend below

For Psalm 131

For upcoming celebrations
Christ’s saying “the scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses” and his command to do what they tell you means they have authority to teach God's Law, but they suffer the defect of many in authority:  they don't practice what they preach.  They're demanding toward others, and often correct, but they don't follow their own directions.  Authorities should lead by good example, helping others practice what's right and supporting them in their trials.  Authority exercised becomes oppressive, doesn't let people grow, and foments of distrust, hostility, and corruption.  The scribes and Pharisees' wicked behavior arise from pride and so is hard to overcome.  They're tempted to live for appearances.  Christs' disciples should have a fraternal attitude and not not seek honor, authority, or supremacy; it saddens me to see people running after honors.  We should put our God-given gifts at the service of others.  We shouldn't consider ourselves superior; modesty is essential if we're to be conformed to the teaching of the humble Christ who came to serve, not be served.
  • Ps 131:1-3  "In you, Lord, I have found my peace."  My heart is not proud nor my eyes haughty.  I've stilled my soul like a weaned child.  Hope in the Lord.
  • 1 Thes 2:7b-9, 13  We were gentle among you, determined to share the gospel, and ourselves, with you, so beloved to us you'd become.  We worked not to burden you.  We keep thanking God that you received God's word as not merely human, and that it's at work in you.
  • Mt 23:1-12  "Do what the scribes and Pharisees tell you, but don't follow their example; they don't practice what they preach.  They lay burdens on people but don't lift a finger to move them.  They do everything to be seen and love honors.  You have one teacher, one Father, and one master.  The greatest among you must be your servant.  Whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
  • Creighton:  Jesus told his followers that the religious leaders practiced their faith for show but didn't connect with their people, having no compassion for them.  When we open our heart to Jesus, we recognize our imperfection, but Jesus looks for humble service, not perfection.  He urges us not to let external rewards sidetrack us.  He invites us all to be servants.  We serve by loving.  May Jesus be at the center of my life and service.  Our goal is to be a servant for those who suffer, sharing this pain with Jesus.  The 1st reading also challenges the religious leaders who had grown lazy.  Soon the people followed their example....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Priestly people":  When priests don't teach properly, others falter, and the Lord tries to correct the priests.  If you're baptized, you're a priest, so the 1st reading applies to you.  "To teach to lead others to faith is every preacher and believer's task" (Aquinas).  What are you teaching by your words and actions?  Do you know your faith so as to teach it?  Scripture, Church teaching, the Catechism, papal encyclicals, the Mass?  Do you look for opportunities to share?  Do you invite people to give their life to Jesus?  "Preach the word whether convenient or inconvenient,  correcting, reproving, appealing, teaching."
  • Passionist:  Today's gospel is directed to both Jesus' disciples and the crowd.  The Greek word translated 'observe' is tēreō (attend carefully, not blindly follow).  Attend to what the leaders say, but don't follow their example.  There are still 'Pharisees' who tell people how to live, perform works to be seen, love honors, but often they speak wise words. We should Jesus attend to their words but discern their actions.  Love of country is admirable, but not to the exclusion of refugees.  Care for others' sensitivity is good, but not to the exclusion of opposing voices.  May we listen with an open heart while discerning with the Spirit's help how I'm called to act.
    Thank you, Sandy Haight,
    for the Nursing mother image
    I used for today's word cloud.
  •  "Humble yourself":  We want people to see us our best side, not our faults, but God always sees us as we are:  sinners in need of mercy and help.  Jesus warned the teachers and rulers to teach and serve with humility and sincerity, not pride and self-seeking privileges that tempts us to put ourselves above others.  In their misguided zeal they sought honor for themselves, not God. They made practicing faith a burden, not a joy, for those in their care.  Respect for God inclines us to humility and to submission to him; we need to listen and obey for him to teach us.  "Pride goes before destruction."  God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  "You have one teacher....  If you minister with the divine word, you don't call yourself teacher, for you knows that when you do well it's Christ within you.  Just call yourself servant:  'Whoever is greater among you, be servant of all.'" (Origen)
Respect for God inclines us to humility and simplicity of heart - the willing readiness to seek the one true good who is God himself.  Humility is self-understanding, seeing ourselves as God does; it frees us from preoccupation, while low self-opinion focuses attention on ourselves.  The humble regard themselves realistically, neither smaller nor larger than they are; they don't fall into despair or pride, wear masks, or let success or failure sway them.  Humility is the queen of virtues because it enables us to see as God sees, be teachable, acquire true knowledge and wisdom, give ourselves to something greater, and love and serve willingly and selflessly, as Jesus who emptied himself, humbled himself, and became obedient unto death....
Dress legend
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  "I am a great King" (1st reading)
  • 'Heart' pin:  "Lay this commandment to heart" (1st reading); "you're beloved to us" (2nd reading); "my heart is not proud..." (psalm)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  "...nor my eyes haughty" (psalm); "they perform their works to be seen" (gospel)
  • "I hearts; my dad" tie:  "Don't we all have the same father?" (1st reading); "you have one Father" (gospel)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  "In you, Lord, I have found my peace" (psalm)
  • 'Hand' (with raised fingers) tie pin:  "They lay burdens on people but won't lift a finger to move them" (gospel)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  "They love places of honor at banquets" (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

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