We are called today to meditate on the integrity of the message we pass to people around us in our world today as Christians. What can we say we are known for? What do we teach the world today about our faith? We might have noticed that the priests, scribes, and Pharisees were mentioned in the readings. They represent all of us with authority in the word and law of God, which we are supposed to deliver in the world with all integrity to God’s glory.

In the first reading, the prophet Malachi rebuked the priests and the people of Israel for their corruption, hypocrisy, and indifference towards God and his covenant. God accused the priests of dishonouring him by offering defective sacrifices, breaking his covenant, and teaching false doctrines. He warned them of his judgment if they did not repent and obey his word.

In the second reading, the apostle Paul commended the Thessalonians for receiving the gospel as the word of God, not of men. He also reminded them of his example of integrity as a minister of God. He was gentle, hardworking, never a burden to anyone, and blameless among them. Paul wanted them to understand that the word of God they received from him had no deception. It was authentic, having no personal or political agendas of man.

In the gospel, while talking to the crowds around him and his disciples, Jesus was critical of the scribes and Pharisees. He denounced them for their hypocrisy, pride, and oppression. They did not practice what they preached. They sought their own glory, not God’s. While teaching others the law of God, they had their own agendas. They burdened the people with their traditions, not God’s commands. He contrasted them with his disciples, who were to be humble, docile to God’s will, and fraternal to each other.

In summary, today’s message is a call to integrity of faith. We are called to practice what we preach. The question then is: how true are we to what we preach or the word of God we hear daily? We are called to be faithful to God, consistent in the life of grace that we have received. Remember that we are all one under God, who is our Father.

The Announcer! – 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time