Today is one of those days that the homily is primarily directed to the preacher himself. There are times I wish I would sit in the congregation and allow the people preach to me and really tell me to my face the hard truths I need to know so as to make corrections where necessary.
Jesus summarizes the life of the Scribes and Pharisees (the holy people), today saying they do not practice what they preach. The question is, am I simply being a sign board? Do I tell people the direction to heaven without actually going there myself?
The best form of preaching is practice. If I fail to practice the message and apply the lessons of my homilies in my life, then I am only deceiving myself. It is very easy to preach, it is very easy to point out the errors in other people’s lives, very easy to see the specks in their eyes but it is not so easy to turn the torchlight towards yourself, not so easy to see the log in your own eyes.
I guess in anger, Jesus went further to encourage the people not to worship their religious leaders because they are not what they claim to be. Jesus said: “Call no one your Father, Call no one your Master…” One of the signs of not practicing what I preach is when I begin to exult myself above others.
When I begin to behave as though I am Jesus Christ, when I make people carry me on their shoulders as I preach, when I start marching on people’s heads in the name of deliverance, when I start giving myself titles, when I begin to put my picture in billboards and posters, when I begin to claim the glory for miracles and so on and so on, then I have simply lost it.
It is a contradiction to preach about the humility of Jesus who came not to be served but to serve while I myself make others worship me in the name of being a man of God. I am nothing more than a servant, my ability to preach is a gift, God uses me and I dare not claim to be better than anyone else. Left to myself, I am just a piece of rag.
The story of Ruth and Naomi comes to an end today with the happy union of Ruth and Boaz whom God blessed with a child that eventually became the direct Grandfather of David and subsequently, one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ.
Our responsorial psalm today says it all. There is a surely a reward for being good. 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.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saturday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Ruth 2:1-3, 8-11; 4:13-17 and Matthew 23:1-12).