for Sunday, November 5, 2017
How do we treat other people in our lives? What do we think about immigrants? What about the people whom we don't like? Do we ever think about all of these people in terms of what Jesus has taught us? Do we think about these people in terms of what our Catholic Church teaches us?
The first reading today is from the Book of the Prophet Malachi. What wonderful images he uses in his writings! Today, however, he is very strong: "If you don't listen to me, I will make your life awful!" This is often how God acts in our lives. Our lives become so awful that finally we think of the Lord and wonder what He wants of us and if we are being faithful. Malachi asks us "Why then do we break faith with one another, violating the covenant of our fathers?" This is a message for all of us, even today. Do we keep the covenant of the Lord? Are we faithful to the teachings of Scripture and of the Church? If we are not faithful, why??
The second reading is from the First Letter to the Thessalonians. One important point in this reading is this: "In receiving the word of God from hearing us, you received not a human word but, as it truly is, the word of God." This is so important for each of us to understand! We speak in human words and yet we can receive the word of God. This is particularly true when we read the human words of the Scripture and by faith believe that God is revealing Himself. Today many people no longer believe that Scripture is God's revelation. We Catholics believe with our whole being that the Scriptures are the Revelation of God.
Yet it is important to understand how these Scriptures are God's Revelation. We are not literalists in the sense that we believe that every word is a revelation. Rather, we embrace a theory of revelation which tells us that God is present and speaking to us in His Scriptures. To understand the Scriptures we must understand the people who wrote them, the times in which they were written, the history of these writings and so forth. But that never takes away from the reality that we believe that in hearing these words, in reading these words, we are encountering the Lord God revealing Himself to us.
The Gospel today is from the Gospel of Saint Matthew. Here we encounter this teaching: "The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." We should always keep this teaching in our hearts and in our minds. We must seek to serve one another, not dominate one another. We should seek to proclaim this word of God in the way we live and relate to one another. The more humble we become, the possible it is for God's word and God's presence to be known by others. Jesus gives us the example of those who try to follow the Law but only put burdens on others. It is clear that our challenge is not to judge others nor to tell others what to do. Our challenge is to live the word of God in such a way that others are drawn to God.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Malachi 1.14 – 2.2, 8-10
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2.7-9, 13
Gospel: Matthew 23.1-12
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: