BY: Fr. Cyril Akindele Osadare

Malachi 1:14-2:2, 8-10;
1Thessalonians 2:7-9, 13;
Matthew 23:1-12
The major difference between machines and humans is that machines achieve maximum work efficiency but humans create relationships along with the work. In today’s world where machines are almost taking over our work environment especially with its unbelievable advantage of work efficiency, time management, cost management, greater efficiency, and less or no error. It is more pertinent for humans to wake up to this advantage we have over machines before we are being thrown out of the society. In a place where 100 workers were needed in those days, less than 10 are required today except those 10 can offer more than machines and the advantage is relationships. I was transferred recently to another parish and the love in my former parish was unbelievable that I realised that creating relationships is far more greater than working like machines.

Unfortunately, many act as if they are machines without creating any serious bond or relationship with people they are working with. It makes their work less effective.

Our readings of today is along this line. St. Paul in the second reading looks very emotional to me in his writings to the people generally and you could see it very evident in his writing this morning. He had created a strong bond of relationship between them that he even described as the relationship between a nurse and her own children. The healing touch of a caring nurse is sometimes sufficient to heal a patient. Paul and his companions were not just pastors to them, they became friends, brothers and family to them. I can’t forget easily how many homes I can stroll into today as a priest and share a meal. This is what Jesus is critical of in the Pharisees. He doesn’t have problems with their work as teachers of the law but how much relationships have they create. Do they bother to feel for the people they direct. Are they not just the demanding type but who care less about what the people go through? In the first reading, God was so emphatic on these kinds of pastors and priests and leaders who have become an obstacle between the message and people. In as much as people want to follow God, they keep becoming serious obstacles to them.

My dear friends, today’s readings is on building relationships which is building trust, confidence, mutual understanding and examples. Our readings is not just for Priests but for all professionals be it a teacher, doctor, nurse, business men and women and especially politicians. We must realize that we are not machines and we must become a veritable tool to achieve greater efficiency and not obstacles or stumbling block for the people we work with and for.
May the Lord help us to be good instruments of the gospel. Amen.

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