Soul Food for Sundays

Soul Food for Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time 5th November 2023

Reflections 5th November 2023
Matthew 23:1-12

The Author: Ronan Barry
calendar_today Date: November 1, 2023 - 2 minutes read

Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.

This powerful line from today’s Gospel, is an invitation to authenticity. Who are we? Are we a people who practise what we preach; Do we walk the talk?

Reflecting on Jesus’s transformational engagement with people in the Gospels, it seems that his engagement was about him being an authentic person, where what he said matched to who he was.

In strategic and corporate planning, specialists speak about aligning company values to the experience of the customer. They are also seeking an authentic experience through their labour and industry.  However, here in this Gospel passage we are engaged in something more than product building, we are being invited to become instruments of God’s peace in the network of everyday relationships, by being open in mind and heart to what God wants. 

We are being called to open ourselves through moments of prayer so the God’s presence can be visible through our actions.  It is a personal invitation that can transform us so we can bring abundant life (John 10:10) to all we meet.

As we near the end of the Church year, the Gospel of today and last week seem to be asking us to reflect on our contribution to building God’s kingdom. As we end this liturgical year, we could take time to participate in an examen for the last year, using the structure of the The Daily Examen.

St. Francis of Assisi: Make me an Instrument of your Peace.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Photo by Sunguk Kim on Unsplash

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Ronan Barry

Ronan is Director of Spiritan Mission Ireland, set up in 2017 to respond, in line with Spiritan charism, to the current context of the Irish Spiritan Province and Church. He was part of the Spiritan education team for over ten years. He lives with his family in Co. Kildare.