Pride and selfishness interfere with the work of Christians who are meant to imitate Jesus’ loving goodness
Reflections on the readings for the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (November 11, 2018): 1 KGS 17:10-16; PS 146:7,8-9,9-10; HEB 9:24-28; MK 12:38-44
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
When Jesus points out those who act hypocritically and injure those they should be helping, He doesn’t hold back.
In the Gospel for this Sunday He censures religious leaders who have no excuse for their actions. “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and…at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers” (Mark 12:38-40). These men want to be in the forefront of community life and recognized for their prominence and power. They enjoy all the perks they believe they are entitled to have. The scribes in the Gospel put themselves ahead of the spirit of the law as well as the service God expects His ministers to offer Him and His people.
Even worse, they clearly harm people like widows who cannot defend themselves and withhold help that they should receive. Then these leaders try to cover up their faults by public prayers so that people think they are dedicated to the Lord and to their calling. Sadly, the dishonesty, arrogance and self-righteousness the scribes demonstrated has not disappeared. Christ warned His disciples that this behavior was not acceptable among those who follow His way. Yet it still exists. Many who say they are followers of Jesus, including leaders, do not recognize their own lack of humility, compassion and generosity. Let every single one of us examine our lives. And, like our Savior, let us put the will of God and the needs of His people, especially the poor and defenseless, first.