Sincerity instead of Acting, Monday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time (I), August 26, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Monday of the 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of Our Lady of Czestochowa
August 26, 2013
1 Thess 1:1-5.8-10, Ps 149, Mt 23:13-22

To listen to an audio recording of the homily, please click here: 


The following points were attempted in the homily:

  • On Saturday, Jesus praised Nathanael and wants to praise us for being without guile or duplicity. We encounter the exact opposite in the Scribes and the Pharisees today. Jesus calls them “hypocrites,” the Greek word for “actor,” because they were pretending rather than sincerely practicing their faith. They were doing everything to be seen by others, as Jesus said earlier in this chapter. They were focused on their external actions rather than their heart, playing a role rather than loving the Lord with all their mind, heart, soul and strength.
  • In today’s Gospel, we see that duplicity. They believed that oaths binded them to do what they swore they would do, but they tried to wiggle their way out of it by saying only “binding oaths” held them bound — and a binding oath would be one in which they specifically called on God. Hence they were swear by the altar but not the gift on the altar, or the gold of the temple rather the temple itself. Jesus responded that they were hypocrites, because whenever one swears by anything sacred, the person is already calling on God as a witness to the truthfulness of the oath. He was calling them, as he would say later, to say yes when they mean yes and no when they mean no, for all other duplicity comes from the father of lies.
  • Today the Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the great Black Madonna of Poland, whose image in contained in a place called in Polish Jasna Gora, which means “clear mountain.” Mary is a mountain of faith and she’s totally transparent, another Israelite in whom their is no guile. We ask her to pray for us today that we might learn from the mistakes of the Scribes and Pharisees, and instead of not entering Christ’s kingdom and becoming obstacles for others to enter might respond to God’s grace and enter, remain and bring many others into that very same kingdom of pure light.

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1
1 THES 1:1-5, 8B-10

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the Church of the Thessalonians
in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
grace to you and peace.We give thanks to God always for all of you,
remembering you in our prayers,
unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love
and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ,
before our God and Father,
knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen.
For our Gospel did not come to you in word alone,
but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.
You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake.
In every place your faith in God has gone forth,
so that we have no need to say anything.
For they themselves openly declare about us
what sort of reception we had among you,
and how you turned to God from idols
to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven,
whom he raised from the dead, Jesus,
who delivers us from the coming wrath.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6A AND 9B

R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
R. Alleluia.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
R. Alleluia.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia!
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
R. Alleluia.

MT 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
You do not enter yourselves,
nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You traverse sea and land to make one convert,
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna
twice as much as yourselves.“Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’
Blind fools, which is greater, the gold,
or the temple that made the gold sacred?
And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift,
or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
one who swears by the temple swears by it
and by him who dwells in it;
one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God
and by him who is seated on it.”