Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) Green
Mal 1:14b–2:2b, 8-10 • Ps 131 • 1 Thes 2:7b–9, 13
Mt 23:1–12 • Jesus Denounces the Scribes and Pharisees
1Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, 2saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. 3Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. 4They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. 5All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. 6They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, 7greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ 8As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. 10Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. 11The greatest among you must be your servant. 12Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
We are Called to be Humble
My sophomore year as BS Accountancy student was the most crucial. From twenty-four, only ten sections would be available for our third year. The college would have to filter out its students by conducting a retention exam. The thought of the retention policy scared me. What if I was not good enough for my dream?
Days and months passed by. With a perpetually preoccupied mind and huge eyebags, I already looked like a walking zombie. My eldest sister often saw my haggard state and introduced me to St. Pio and told me not to worry because my prayers would surely be answered. I began to pray to St. Pio every day and visited Padre Pio Shrine near Eastwood a few times.
After a few months, I got the hang of my academic life. I felt like I can do all things on my own. Sad to say, I eventually forgot my devotion to St. Pio. Then one night, I dreamt of him. I was able to talk to him and hold him in my dreams! I was struck with awe and humility. I realized that I had forgotten to ask for his intercession for quite some time since my accounting scores were starting to improve. I realized that I should not stop praying when odds seem favorable to me. I should pray all the more and give thanks to God.
In the Gospel, Jesus denounces the scribes and the Pharisees for not walking their talk, for not practicing what they preach. They loved the kind of treatment and the spotlight that they were into. They had forgotten why they were given the privilege to preach, why God planted them among the people: they were supposed to lead the people of God to become more merciful and compassionate.
Wherever God has planted us, we are always called to humility. Our God is the perfect example of humility. He humbled himself on the cross! As Christians, we do not stop praying when our prayer has been answered. What happens when we do stop? We then become stubborn and tend to take the Lord for granted. Afterwards, an imbalance in our lives ensues. In times like this, may we be reminded of the Benedictine motto, Ora et Labora (pray and work). Life of work without prayer grows in vain. A life of prayer without work is stagnant.
Now that I’m almost at the end of BS Accountancy race, I thank the Lord for the humility he was able to inculcate to me through the fatherly reminders of Padre Pio. Deo Gratias!
–Regine Mei Cerdeña Gozun
- What do the scribes and Pharisees do to the heavy burdens that are hard to carry?
- What salutation do the scribes and Pharisees love to hear, which means ‘teacher’ in Hebrew?
- Fill in the blank: “Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the ________.”
- When have I taken the Lord or the people around me for granted? How do I feel about this?
- What measures can I do to be able to inculcate humility in facing my daily endeavors especially in my prayer life?
- Do I also pray for those people who have failed to do me good?
- Find someone to pair with and share with him/her your definition of humility. Cite examples and share your personal experience of humility. List down all you have shared with each other. Find the common grounds you have come up with.
- Get a lump of clay. Divide it into two. Mold the first half of the clay into whatever symbol that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘hypocrisy.’ For the second half, then mold your symbol of ‘humility.’ Share your reflection about these symbols to the class.
- Reflect on the responsibilities you are currently carrying. Do some amendments on the wrongs that you do in carrying out these responsibilities.