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THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, NOVEMBER 5, 2023






Gospel Mt 23:1-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people's shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.' As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.' You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called 'Master'; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."


REFLECTION

Do not be called 'Master'; you have but one master, the Christ.


Jesus refers to God as the one Father to all. If a father is cold and indifferent, abusive or unreasonably demanding, or abandons his family, how can one relate to God or see Him as a father figure?


An example is St Augustine who had a rocky relationship with his dad, Patricius. He was verbally abusive to St Monica and broke his marriage vows. Patricius did not give St Augustine the needed guidance during his adolescence. St Augustine expressed cold contempt for his dad, searching for substitute fathers in seeking guidance. It was much later in his life that he called God, "Father". He was shown by his mentors what can be accomplished with love in action, not words. (1)


Do we know what love is? How can a father be a blessing to his children--both a spiritual father such as a priest and an earthly father? The perfect example is God, the Father. He is truth, goodness and love. We can decide to change as St Augustine did. Whether we do good or bad to others, it will be remembered and they in turn share goodness and love with others or go down the wrong track.


Find the peace we long for in the love of the Father. Be trusting, giving, not betraying souls who come in our lives. Choose good, to undo our past through praying our new us to others. Repent of our past, repent for those who hurt us and with true humility (losing ourselves as we did when children) reaching out to God's compassion, mercy and love. Work day and night to proclaim the good news of God and "the Word" in our everyday life. How? Look at the mirror!! Do you see an encouraging smile, is our mouth moving complaining about everything, do we have an inviting face, can people see love in our eyes?


When we pray for our priests, pray that they be good examples, that they offer themselves when we need help, that they pray and meditate, and not seek to be liked nor have notoriety, but preach the Word of God, the Father. Our Father will hold them and us in His hand and be with us as a good Father watching our every step.


God Bless You.




(1) Augnet.org. is a website of the work of the Australasian Province of the Order of St Augustine

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