John 1:45-51 St. Bartolomew
August 20, 2020
Matthew 23:27-32
August 26, 2020

Matthew 23:23-26

21st Week in Ordinary Time Year 2
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 14-17
Matthew 23:23-26

A. Text/Context

  • In this gospel, Jesus continues his tirades against the scribes and Pharisees as written by St. Matthew
  • And one thing very striking about the gospel today is that Jesus talks about the practice of the giving of tithes
  • There is one thing good about the scribes and the Pharisees because they are really faithful to the law to the letter
  • But even though they are faithful to the literal following of the law, it is still problematic and Jesus is still very much displeased with them
  • Because they miserably fail in the heavier following of the law and that is love and mercy to others who are in need

B. Human Situation

  • For us Christians the giving of tithes is already specified in the writings of the prophet Malachi in the OT defining that the 10% of our income must go to the Church
  • The Protestants are especially very keen on this as they go great lengths in making specific definitions about the giving of tithes
  • They really make an accounting if they have fulfilled the required tithings for the Church. The taxes paid to the government is already included in the 10%
  • And that is very beautiful. That is why the INC (Iglesia ni Cristo) have beautiful and magnificent churches even in the most remote and the poorest place here in the Philippines
  • But for the Catholic Church we do not require that. What the church requires is that what we give must come from the heart voluntarily
  • We extend help only according to our own generosity and capability and that must be heartily given with no regrets and with no strings attached
  • We are never forced by Church laws to give what is contrary to the sentiments of our hearts
  • And here in the Philippines we have a very vibrant Church members who really help contribute to the survival of the Church
  • And one good news for Filipinos is that even though we are a third world country the archdiocese of Manila is one of the richest archdioceses in the world
  • Would you believe that? In such a poor country, we contribute a lot for the temporal survival of the Church
  • The archdiocese of Manila ranks at par in comparison with the Archdiocese of New York and Chicago in the United States
  • That would mean that a lot of Filipinos really help the Church financially to defray the huge expenses of the Vatican in Rome
  • Here in the Philippines, there are still a lot of Catholics who are generous. The Church will not survive without our help
  • The contemplative sisters are not working for a living because their work is to pray throughout the specific hours of the divine office. Their monasteries will close without support
  • Our parishes will not be able to defray the huge expenses as we serve the faithful, not to mention the priests who also need stipends for their own needs
  • Aside from that our seminaries and convents will all be closed and in Europe it is now happening. People have become so secular they don’t care about the Church anymore
  • They have big beautiful but empty churches only for tourist attractions yet Europe is so rich but the problem is that charity has already slackened and people have become selfish and individualistic
  • I once heard a parishioner saying that she will never give food offerings because the priests and sacristans will just eat them
  • Another one censured her, who told you that the Lord can be hungry. God is always full. It is the hungry people who need to eat
  • That is why it is written in the Scriptures: I do not desire holocausts or oblations or sacrifices. I desire mercy and justice
  • As what is exhorted in the 1st reading in 2 Thessalonians that we hold fast to the traditions that we are taught – the tradition of giving support

C. Challenge

  • The challenge for us today is that we must continue to support for the temporal survival of the Church
  • And with that we are also reminded that even our help will be of no avail or simply just not be enough if we fail to love our brothers and sisters
  • Let us not be like the scribes and the Pharisees who love to offer animals in the temple but never lift a finger to those who are in need
  • God desires love all the more rather than ritual sacrifices

 

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