YEAR B: HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OF THE 20TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Mt. 21:1-12) Saturday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel Jesus observed the hypocrisy of the pharisees. They were teaching something but doing another. They took places of honor, show off their religiosity, love being praised and greeted. They demand their importance and authority. Jesus warned His disciples this kind of arrogance and faulty teaching.
Hypocrisy is the curse of every teacher. Every teaching goes back to the life lived by the teacher. Children are very sharp with this. There were times when a child would call my attention to pray first before meals whenever I would immediately grab a bite due to hunger. I had heard it too from my father who told me that smoking is bad for the health only to see him norm some cigarettes everyday. As a priest, people’s eyes are always on me and they are keen in seeing if I am a living witness to what I had taught. Action speaks louder than words.
A priest preaches not only to the congregation but also to himself. In fact, he was his first student. It means that even before his reflection of the Word of God or teaching the truths of the faith, he already reflected on it, believed it, and lived it.
Thus, he can speak about them with conviction. Unfortunately, it is not always the case. At times, he was also learning it as he preaches them. However, the worst would be defying and doing their very opposite. It should be clear that the credibility of the teaching is not dependent on the preacher. The essence and goodness of the teaching is not lost in the lack of witnessing of the preacher. But another witness is always welcome and helpful to others. Thus, the urgent and strong warning from Jesus in this Gospel. He did not want HIs disciples to commit the same mistake as the pharisees. He knew the hypocrisy they were committing and the destruction it was doing to their ministry and to their members. It was something which the disciples must counter and do away with if they were to be effective followers and missionaries of the Lord. It is the same expectation Jesus has for the Church, the pope, bishops, priests, and Christians. The Church may not be perfect but she can always strive to be one with the help of the Spirit. The Church teaches at the same time addresses them to herself. Yes, the Church may also be hypocrite but she is an honest and repentant hypocrite.
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