SATURDAY, TWENTIETH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Memorial of St Pius X, Pope
Ruth 2:1-3,8-11;4:13-17; Ps 128:1-5; Mt 23:1-12
PREACH THE GOSPEL WITH YOUR LIFE
Today’s gospel message begins with a severe indictment of the scribes and Pharisees. “The scribes and Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses.” “They do not practice what they preach.” Not practicing what we preach is the cause of many miseries. Priests and religious want to occupy the chair of Moses. They should first bear witness to Christ by their deeds, then, by their words. Parents also should teach their children, first, by the example of their lives; then, words may not even be necessary. Young people and children are moved more by non-verbal communication than by verbal communication.
One of the great tragedies in the history of the Church, is that her leaders do not practice what they preach. Hundreds of the faithful have become so accustomed to seeing such contradictions in the lives of the priests and preachers, that they no longer complain about them, as Jesus complained about the scribes and Pharisees.
Concern for the welfare of the people, compelled Jesus to speak out against the leaders, at his own risk. “Listen to what they say; do not act as they do.” Jesus himself always practiced before he preached. The great virtue that he was all the time practicing, was humility. So He had the right to say: “Learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”
Further in today’s gospel, Jesus tells us that we all have one Master, and one Teacher. Why is Jesus Christ our only Teacher? He is the Truth. No other teacher can claim to be the truth. The truth that is proclaimed by those who occupy the chair of Moses is not from themselves. The wrong that the leaders do is from themselves. The message of the gospel today teaches us to serve the people with humility and sincerity rather than with pride and self-promotion. Let our words be living testimonies of Christ: his humility, poverty, patience and obedience. We speak them when we show them to others.
Response: Indeed thus shall be blessed the man who fears the Lord.
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