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October 30th 2005 A.D. - 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time Mt. 23/1-12
Catholic Homilies
October 30th 2005 A.D.

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31st Sunday in Ordinary Time Mt. 23/1-12


  Jesus’s constant conflict with the Scribes and the Pharisees was not a battle against the Scribes skills in interpreting scripture, nor with the Pharisees theoretical doctrines about love and about the resurrection from the dead. Rather he fought with these religious enthusiasts because their claim to virtue, a claim which they used to oppress ordinary folk, was in large part hypocritical. Because they were deeply religious persons, they assumed that they had the right to run other people’s lives. It was against this tyranny that Jesus contended. Patently the temptation to be a scribe or a Pharisee did not end when Jesus went back to the Father in heaven. It is an inevitable part of religion, and must be resisted today even as it was in Jesus’s time

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  Once upon a time there was a certain monsignor who had founded a new parish and built the school, the convent, the rectory, the church, and the parish hall (with some help, be it noted, from the money of the lay people). He was justly proud of the parish, as were the laity. Then, however, he began to think it belonged to him. He hired and fired school principles, established rules that made it hard for people to be married in the parish (they had to have used the collection envelopes for a year before they signed up for a wedding, they couldn’t be living together), denied baptism to the children of many people whom he didn’t consider good Catholics, threw kids out of schools when the teachers thought the kids would be all right with a little help, refused to meet with the liturgy committee, appointed only his cronies to the parish council, disbanded the finance committee because it was his parish and he’d run it the way he wanted to, barred visiting priests, even if they were relatives, from weddings and funerals. One day the bishop called him to his office. The Monsignor assumed that he would receive a new honor. The bishop demanded his resignation. They’re my people the monsignor said proudly. They all hate you the bishop replied.

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They’re my people the monsignor said proudly. They all hate you the bishop replied

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