Read Ruth 2:1-3,8-11,4:13-17, Ps. 128:1-5, Matthew 23:1-12

“Practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.... They do all their deeds to be seen by men. (Matthew 23:3-5)

It is easier to preach about righteousness than to live it out. It is easier to point out the errors of others than to notice our faults. It is easier to condemn evil than to refrain from it. One of the most difficult things to do is to sit down in silence and be the judge of your thoughts, words and actions. This is the practice of examination of conscience, which is the bedrock of Christianity.

The scribes and Pharisees paraded themselves as holy, but Jesus could see through their hypocrisy. Jesus knew they were scandalising the people (leading many astray by their bad behaviours). While commending them for preaching the truth, Jesus warned against copying their actions.

Since the scribes and Pharisees were not living up to God’s expectations, Jesus warned against giving them undue reverence. “You are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher and are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father in heaven. Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:8-12)

Jesus’s words must never be taken out of context. Jesus is not against the use of titles. No. Jesus is against answering a name that your actions contradict. Don’t call me Father if I am not behaving like one. I don't deserve such titles if I do not practice what I preach. Jesus is against the worship of human beings. If I do what is wrong, be bold enough to call and correct me. Do not say: “Leave him alone. He is next to God.” Jesus says: “Call no man on earth your God. You have only One God who is in heaven!”

Jesus also warns against pride. Pride is like an invisible spirit; you can’t see it, yet pride is dangerous. One of the reasons we fail to practice what we preach is pride. Pride makes us assume we are better than our audience. It makes us place burdens on the shoulders of others, knowing that we have no intention of following such standards. Jesus says we would be humiliated if we exalt ourselves, but if we practice what we preach in humility, we would be exalted.

The story of Ruth and Naomi ends today with the happy union of Ruth and Boaz, whom God blessed with a child who became the grandfather of David. God rewarded Ruth for her sacrifice – accepting to stay with Naomi (her mother-in-law) rather than return to her home. Love is a sacrifice. We never go unrewarded for every sacrifice we make. Our Responsorial Psalm today sing: ‘Blessed is everyone who fears the lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labour of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you….’ (Psalm 128:1-6).

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, may my life's sermon be better than my words' sermon. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saturday of week 20 in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Colour: Green. Bible Study: Ruth 2:1-3,8-11,4:13-17, Ps. 128:1-5, Matthew 23:1-12).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu