31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalter week III
Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Ps 37: 22-23
Forsake me not, O Lord, my God; be not far from me! Make haste and come to my help, O Lord, my strong salvation!
Almighty and merciful God, by whose gift your faithful offer you right and praiseworthy service, grant, we pray, that we may hasten without stumbling to receive the things you have promised. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Malachi 1: 14-2: 2, 8-10
I am a great king, says the Lord of Hosts, and my name is feared throughout the nations. And now, priests, this warning is for you. If you do not listen, if you do not find it in your heart to glorify my name, says the Lord of Hosts, I will send the curse on you and curse your very blessing. But you, you have strayed from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your teaching. You have destroyed the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of Hosts. And so I in my turn have made you contemptible and vile in the eyes of the whole people in repayment for the way you have not kept to my paths but have shown partiality in your administration. Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why, then, do we break faith with one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors?
R/ Keep my soul in peace before you, O Lord.
O Lord, my heart is not proud nor haughty my eyes. I have not gone after things too great nor marvels beyond me.
Truly I have set my soul in silence and peace. A weaned child on its mother’s breast, even so is my soul.
O Israel, hope in the Lord both now and forever.
Second reading: 1 Thessalonians 2: 7-9
Like a mother feeding and looking after her own children, we felt so devoted and protective towards you, and had come to love you so much, that we were eager to hand over to you not only the Good News but our whole lives as well. Let me remind you, brothers, how hard we used to work, slaving night and day so as not to be a burden on any one of you while we were proclaiming God’s Good News to you. Another reason why we constantly thank God for you is that as soon as you heard the message that we brought you as God’s message, you accepted it for what it really is, God’s message and not some human thinking; and it is still a living power among you who believe it.
Gospel Acclamation: 1S 3: 9, Jn 6: 68
Alleluia, alleluia! Speak, Lord, your servant is listening: you have the message of eternal life. Alleluia!
Gospel: Matthew 23:1-12
Addressing the people and his disciples Jesus said, “The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi. You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Prayer over the Offerings
May these sacrificial offerings, O Lord, become for you a pure oblation, and for us a holy outpouring of your mercy. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Cf. Ps 15: 11
You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence, O Lord.
Prayer after Communion
May the working of your power, O Lord, increase in us, we pray, so that, renewed by these heavenly Sacraments, we may be prepared by your gift for receiving what they promise. Through Christ our Lord.
Once again, the Liturgy of the Word invites us to humility. Better said, it calls us to consistency in our life of faith. Yes, we must live what we teach and teach what we live. This is the secret of all Christian life and even of evangelization. Being witnesses is more interesting than being good preachers/speakers… The Pharisees and scribes themselves remain outside the practice of the Lord’s precepts. Far from making this an interpersonal problem, Jesus simply castigates the behaviour of the religious leaders of his time and even those of the present time who “speak very well” without daring to live their teachings. Hence the IMPERTINENCE or STERILITY of their teachings. Let us become what we teach to others to be and practice what we preach. It is an indisputable proof that we believe it ourselves. Let us convince and evangelize by words and much more by the quality of our actions.