Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sister Evelyn McKenna, SNDdeN

Nov 1, 2023 | Gospel Reflections

November 5, 2023

Matthew 23: 1-12

Today’s Gospel brings us a reminder of the evils of hypocracy about which we have been hearing in the Scriptures over the past several weeks. We would probably prefer to be listening to a more soothing message from a kind and gentle Jesus rather than the challenges he presents to us today. However, these are the words we need to hear, at least from time to time.

The hypocracy of the Pharisees – their desire to look virtuous and acceptable – reminds us of similar behaviors of some of the public figures of our own day. In addition, however, it reminds us of our own behaviors at times. We are well aware that God knows and cares about what is in our hearts rather than outward seemingly virtuous behaviors, yet it is not easy to humble ourselves as Jesus advises, so as to be exalted. We cannot ignore the violence, injustice and suffering of our neighbors in our world, not can we ignore our own flaws. Self-satisfaction is a temptation, but Jesus’ words need to ring in our ears.

Let us humble ourselves and look at our weakness, inadequacies and even sin, and acknowledge these rather than focusing on our accomplishments. Jesus’ message applies in every season and situation, so perhaps this is the day for us to spend some time in reflection on the attitudes in our own hearts.
Jesus reminds us to practice what we preach.
Who in my life has been a good example of integrity in word and deed?
(Question taken from Living with Christ, November, 2023.)


Matthew 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.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord.



Meet Sister Evelyn McKenna, SNDdeN

Evelyn McKenna entered the Sisters of Notre Dame at Waltham, MA in 1957. Over the years she taught grades 4 – 12. She retired from the religious studies department at Notre Dame Academy, Worcester, Massachusetts where she taught and worked with other department members in the “Love in Action” service program. Evelyn was a member of the PACE team in Congo. She created and teaches the St. Julie Project as part of the Notre Dame Virtual School and volunteered as a citizenship tutor at the Notre Dame Educational Bridge Center. Evelyn coordinates the SND Glimpses of God’s Goodness project. She now lives at Notre Dame du Lac Assisted Living Center in Worcester.