Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time - 5th November 2017
Reading 1, Malachi 1:14--2:2, 8-10
14 Cursed be the rogue who has a male in his flock but pays his vow by sacrificing a blemished animal to me! For I am a great king, says Yahweh Sabaoth, and among the nations my name inspires awe.'
2 If you will not listen, if you will not sincerely resolve to glorify my name, says Yahweh Sabaoth, I shall certainly lay a curse on you and I shall curse your blessing. Indeed I willlay a curse, for none of you makes this resolve.
8 But you yourselves have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to lapse by your teaching. Since you have destroyed the covenant of Levi, says YahwehSabaoth,
9 so I in my turn have made you contemptible and vile to the whole people, for not having kept my ways and for being partial in applying the law.
The Word of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 131:1, 2, 3
In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
1 [Song of Ascents] Yahweh, my heart is not haughty, I do not set my sights too high. I have taken no part in great affairs, in wonders beyond my scope.
2 No, I hold myself in quiet and silence, like a little child in its mother's arms, like a little child, so I keep myself.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You have but one Father in heaven
and one master, the Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel, Matthew 23:1-12
Whoever humbles oneself will be exalted
1 Then addressing the crowds and his disciples Jesus said,
3 You must therefore do and observe what they tell you; but do not be guided by what they do, since they do not practise what they preach.
4 They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on people's shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they!
5 Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader headbands and longer tassels,
6 like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues,
7 being greeted respectfully in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi.
8 'You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one Master, and you are all brothers.
9 You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven.
10 Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ.
11 The greatest among you must be your servant.
The Gospel of the Lord.
One Father and Teacher
Reflection: A humble person makes a realistic assessment of oneself without illusion or pretense to be something one is not. A truly humble person regards oneself neither smaller nor larger than one truly is. True humility frees us to be ourselves as God regards us and to avoid falling into despair and pride. A humble person does not want to wear a mask or put on a facade in order to look good to others. Such a person is not swayed by accidentals, such as fame, reputation, success, or failure. Do you know the joy of Christ-like humility and simplicity of heart?
Humility is the queen or foundation of all the other virtues because it enables us to see and judge correctly, the way God sees. Humility helps us to be teachable so we can acquire true knowledge, wisdom, and an honest view of reality. It directs our energy, zeal, and will to give ourselves to something greater than ourselves. Humility frees us to love and serve others willingly and selflessly, for their own sake, rather than for our own. Paul the Apostle gives us the greatest example and model of humility in the person of Jesus Christ, who emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and... who humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:7-8). Do you want to be a servant as Jesus loved and served others? The Lord Jesus gives us his heart - the heart of a servant who seeks the good of others and puts their interests first in his care and concern for them.
Prayer: "Lord Jesus, you became a servant for my sake to set me free from the tyranny of selfish pride and self-concern. Teach me to be humble as you are humble and to love others generously with selfless service and kindness." Amen.
Praise the risen Jesus, eternal High Priest (see Heb 7:24).