Commentary for Sunday: 5th November

Matthew 23, 1-12

Sunday, November 5th, 2023 (31 0T A)

Jesus spoke to the people and to his disciples, saying, “The learned men and the Pharisees are sitting in the chair of Moses. Do what they tell you, but do not do what they do, for they do not do what they say… The first among you shall be your servant. The one who exalts themselves will be humbled, and the one who humbles themselves will be exalted”.

This Sunday the Word of God is expressly addressed to all those who are to perform a service in the church community. Both the prophet Malachi (1st reading) and Jesus in the Gospel issue a serious warning to religious leaders, and by extension to all of us who in some way play a responsible role in the Church. From the Pope and bishops to abbots, superiors, religious, priests, elders, and down to the last catechist or anyone who holds an office that should be for the service of others.

We all like our work to be recognised, our merits to be known and praised, to be taken into consideration. This is human, normal. But the Lord does not want us to let ourselves be dragged down by conceit, and he asks us not to allow ourselves to be called “master”, “lord”, or “father”, since we are all brothers and sisters, and only one is the Lord and Father.

Any ministry in the Church is a service to the community. It is a “commission” that has been received in order to be servants, and not to be served. Therefore, as good pastors we must be at the forefront, opening and showing the way, teaching by example. Saying and doing.

It is a good opportunity for each one of us to analyse our role in the Church, according to the task we have received, as parents, educators, catechists or priests. It is also an opportunity for us not to forget that, in our weakness, we need the prayer and support of those we are meant to serve, so that we may always seek to make the Gospel present. And as St. Paul tells us today, we should take care of the community “as a mother takes care of her children”.


Juan Ramón Gómez Pascual, cmf

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