In our readings this Sunday, we hear how easy it is for human pride and laxity to diminish or even falsify God’s message. Instead, let us follow the invitation to honor God in humility, sincerity, and truth.
In the first reading, the prophet Malachi does not mince his words. His message is hard-hitting: the priests are blamed for their spiritual negligence and failure to instruct the people properly and for their half-hearted service to God. Religious leaders are also criticized in the Gospel. Jesus castigates their hypocrisy: they are more concerned with drawing attention to themselves and exploiting their social position rather than committing themselves to the message they preach. This self-aggrandizement and pride is the exact opposite of what the followers of Jesus should aspire to. Jesus himself is our role model: he teaches us that the route to leadership is through the service of God in all things.
In contrast, the second reading presents Paul as a genuinely devoted pastor: enthusiastic, hard-working, full of love for his people, endlessly sharing the living word of God with this community. To follow Christ is to serve him humbly and with complete trust in God, the theme of today’s Psalm.
This week, let us pray that the Lord God will help us to be sincere and joyful in our practice of faith and prayer, to serve him in our daily lives, and to be even more alert and awake to his presence in nature around us.
Joy and peace.