HOMILY FOR THE THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A.
HOMILY THEME: SITTING ON THE SEAT OF AUTHORITY
BY: Fr. Cosmas Ukadike
The veracious nature of God’s word today calls us to a sober reflection.
His words challenge bishops, priests and anyone with any church responsibility.
While acknowledging that authority comes from GOD Jesus did not hesitate to state that we must be careful to distinguishing between what an authority has instructed from what he does (Matt 23, 1-2).
Sitting on the seat of authority can be pleasurable, but we must realize also that it has got so many responsibilities attached to it. And parts of these responsibilities have been highlighted in today’s readings:
1. Listening to the voice of God (Mal 1, 14). God the great king makes his voice resound today through the prophet Malachi, insisting that priests and all who sit on the seat of authority must pay attention and listen to his voice. For when his voice is heard and acted upon, then obedience to Gods will is made to manifest.
2. Practicing what you teach (Matt 23, 3). To the scribes and Pharisees and to all today who occupy the seat of Moses, Jesus is insisting on practicing what we teach. It was in failure of this that Jesus instructs that “Do whatever they teach you but, do not do as they do” (Matt 23, 3), it’s a big disservice to live in contradiction. We must therefore practice what we teach.
3. Not multiplying laws and causing a burden to people (Matt 23,4) sometimes we are harsh on our people placing so much of a demand on them, in fact, suffocating people with requirements. These often discourage and block people from welcoming and receiving the Gospel, which is at the center of our calling. We have to be sensitive as we work with the people of God however, without compromising the basic standards.
4. Not working for vain glory (Matt 23, 5). Being pharisaic is to seek for vain glory; self honour, self serving, seeking to be noticed, to be appreciated, to take the center stage and push- aside Jesus or perhaps relegate him to the background. Jesus condemns every act that is not in the slightest intension to give glory to God. We must purify our intensions. We must learn to live not for ourselves but for him who has called us ( Gal 2, 20).
5. Acting in humility -Jesus declares “all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matt 23, 12).
It is only in and with humility, that we can better serve God and his people. Sitting on the seat of authority requires that we put on humility in other to better live out our task and responsibility entrusted to us in confidence.
May our lady queen of Apostles make intercessions for us and the whole world.
Have a blessed week.