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31st Sunday of Ordinary Time - Cycle A
November 5th, 2017


Where Are You From?


Reading 1 Mal 1:14b-2:2b, 8-10

A great King am I, says the LORD of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations. And now, O priests, this commandment is for you: If you do not listen, if you do not lay it to heart, to give glory to my name, says the LORD of hosts I will send a curse upon you and of your blessing I will make a curse.

You have turned aside from the way, and have caused many to falter by your instruction; you have made void the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts.

I, therefore, have made you contemptible and base before all the people, since you do not keep my ways, but show partiality in your decisions. Have we not all the one father? Has not the one God created us?

Why then do we break faith with one another, violating the covenant of our fathers?


Responsorial Psalm Ps 131:1, 2, 3

R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

O LORD, my heart is not proud,

nor are my eyes haughty;

I busy not myself with great things,

nor with things too sublime for me.

R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted

my soul like a weaned child.

Like a weaned child on its mother's lap,

so is my soul within me.

R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

O Israel, hope in the LORD,

both now and forever.

R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.




Reading 2 1 Thes 2:7b-9, 13


Brothers and sisters:

We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children. With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us. You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery. Working night and day in order not to burden any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

 And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly, that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us, you received not a human word but, as it truly is, the word of God, which is now at work in you who believe.


Gospel Mt 23:1-12


Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,

"The scribes and the Pharisees

have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.

Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,

but do not follow their example.

For they preach but they do not practice.

They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry

and lay them on people's shoulders,

but they will not lift a finger to move them.

All their works are performed to be seen.

They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.

They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,

greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.'

As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.'

You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.

Call no one on earth your father;

you have but one Father in heaven.

Do not be called 'Master';

you have but one master, the Christ.

The greatest among you must be your servant.

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;

but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."


Homily (Sermon)


It was in the dark of the night, the dark of the darkness night, about two thousands years ago, that a remark was made that had often been made before.  It is still made innumerable times every day, but it never should have be made with Jesus among us.  It was a harassing scene.  Jesus had been arrested.  He was standing in front of a set of judges.  Outside in the dark it was cold, very cold, kind of like it is around my house tonight at this late hour.  People were sitting around fires with their hands outstretched toward the fleeting warmth of the flames.


It was then that a busy maid, selling her wares, pointed at Peter and said:  “Your accent betrays you.  Where are you from?”  She tried to classify him.  She tried to localize him.  She tried to place him.  She tried to pin down his descent, his blood, his land, his tribe, and his nation.


Of course we all know that Peter denied Jesus on that night.  He denied the truth.  Peter should have denied something else.  He should have denied that he was any longer classifiable as a Galilean, as belonging to one group, to one land, one nation.  For you see my friends, that what this gospel of today is about.


“Do not use any classification by decent, blood, land, tribe, or nation anymore.  That time is over.  Those divisions are gone?  Not when it comes to God, when it comes to our Father in Heaven.  Oh yes, we do that well enough in this country is so many other ways, but we cannot do that with God. 


From now on, it is all of us – one descent, one blood, one land, one people, and one nation.  “Only one is your Father, the one in heaven!”  Only one is your Mother, the earth, God’s womb, from which the Father begot us.  How often it has happened to me.  How often it has happened to you.  Wherever you were, people said what that maid said so long ago in the dark of the night, the darkest of all night:  “Your accent betrays you.  Where are you from?”


Please don’t confuse yourself with the text about their being only one Father in heaven, and not to call anyone else Father.  The use of that term is to distinguish us from our Father in Heaven, our heavenly Father, our Father who created this world.  That is what that term is related to.  We only have one Father in Heaven.  That has nothing to do with my earthly father or your earthly father.  Jesus himself had an earthly father in Joseph.  So please don’t get hung up on that one term.


Where am I from?  Where are you from?  Where are the others from?  Where is all of humanity from?  The answer Jesus gave is for all of us:  “Only one is your father, the one in heaven?  Obviously there is only one Heavenly Father who is God.  But Jesus also indicates, “You belong together, you are brothers and sisters, you should be friends.”


Only when this answer is given by all to that treacherous question will be at home here on earth, and in all time to come.  Only this answer can break the dark night in which we are still sitting with our hands outstretched in the fleeting warmth of some fire.


Wishing you a blessed and grace filled week ahead, always in my love and prayers.  Yours in Christ –


Deacon Steve A. Politte

© November 4, 2017


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