31st Sunday – Year A

Mass Readings

Reading 1 – Malachi 1:14 – 2:10
Psalm – Psalm 131:1-3
Reading 2 – 1 Thessalonians 2:7-13
Gospel – Matthew 23:1-12


A Challenge to the Sons of Levi by Bishop Barron

  • Tough readings today for priests. There is nothing quite like it in the Bible in the way in which corruption is exposed. Jesus blasts the Pharisees because they use their religious status and identity as a way to aggrandize their egos.
  • Priests today must speak the truth and carry the burden of that truth lovingly with everyone they meet. Our vestments must always remind us of the splendor of the souls we are called to serve.

Christ as Teacher by Fr. Cantalamessa

  • In today’s Gospel, we come across an important title for Jesus: “You have one master, the Christ.”
  • Whereas masters at the time of Christ were paid by their disciples through small jobs of service, the opposite relationship happens with Jesus – masters serve their disciples.
  • A personal result of today’s reflection on the Gospel would be to rediscover what an honor, unheard of privilege, and “title of recommendation” it is, before God, to be disciples of Jesus of Nazareth; for us to put that also on the top of our “references.” That any one who sees or hears us can say of us what the woman said to Peter in the Sanhedrin’s courtyard: “You are also one of his disciples. Your conduct betrays you” (Matthew 26:73).



Brant Pitre

  • Today’s Gospel might be one of the most difficult passages to be preached in the entire liturgical year for Year A.
  • Context = although the scribes and Pharisees are legitimate teachers of the Jewish people (they teach from the kathedra of Moses), they are hypocrites and prideful men who want the praise of men.
  • Now Jesus turns to His disciples and gives them a different instruction = call no man rabbi, nor father, nor master. Why? Verse 11 is the whole point of Jesus’ teaching here. Servant = diakonos. Whoever is the highest has to be the deacon, the servant of everyone else. Why? Well the upshot is simple, because whoever exalts himself is going to be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted. The disciples must be humble servants who lead by example.
  • 1st reading = Levi priests are supposed to be a kind of living image of God the Father. But they are wicked and a stumbling block due to spiritual pride.
  • Responsorial Psalm = all about spiritual pride and humility. The psalmist is seeking to be humble.

Hans Urs von Balthasar, Book: Light of the World 

  • All of the texts today have to do with priesthood as an office of service.
  • “In its innermost essence, the office he institutes is an office of service, a “service at table” (140).
  • In the second reading, Paul gives us an ideal portrait of how a priest should conduct himself in a Christian office: he loves the congregation entrusted to him like a mother loves a child… like Christ, he permits the members to participate in his life… he works as a servant… He has no interest in gaining influence over the congregation – all he strives for is that God’s Word might be “at work in you who believe” (141).
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