Have you been scandalised in the church: by ministers or when they do things contrary to their identities as leaders of the body of Christ or by members of the church when they do those things that contradicts their identity as true disciples of Christ? Scandals have caused many today to break faith and communion with the church, leaving some in messy states, bred distrust and sometimes led to unbelief. If you capitalise on the effects of scandals to break communion and attack the church, then hear this: scandals happen every day, hence Jesus addresses it, showing us the right course to follow whenever it happens. If you want to know, read slowly...

Matthew 23:1-7

Addressing the people and his disciples Jesus said, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi...


1. Child of God, on this 12th day of our Lenten observance the Lord knows you may experience scandals- discouraging experiences- from fellow pilgrims as you journey along with him. And so he addresses it now that you may not be distracted. Such scandalous experiences become worst when they come from those guiding you in the journey of faith- those you respect, trust and take as role models. God knows how devastating it could be but you must listen to him who speaks to you with the voice of reason, and not emotions. 

2. Every minister of God by virtue of the office they hold are called to be highly responsible because of the heritage of the institution they represent- the teaching, ruling and sanctifying office which the 'seat of Moses' represents. Moses was for the Israelites the first leader (who led them out of slavery), first judge (who received the decalogue and settled disputes among them) and first prophet (who teaches them the way of the Lord). And for this reason, Jesus knowing the importance of this institution- the ruling, teaching and sanctifying office- in the life of church- the people of God, says:

 'you must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach'. 

Their office have a divine origin and mandate, not human fabrication. Thus, you must listen and do what they say otherwise you are disobeying God.

3. But you ask: what if they use their office to manipulate and deceive the flock entrusted to their care? Don't panic, they have God and men to contend with: they will be disparaged before men (as you see already happening today), and they have a big question to answer before God as well. In fact, the Lord says in Malachi 2, 1-2 that He will curse even their blessings:

And now, O you priests, this commandment is for you. If you will not hear, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not lay it to heart. 

What is the glory of a priest, if not the glory of God! He may celebrate the sacraments and offer sacramentals validly and effectively because that does not depend on his holiness but on Actual grace- the power of God (see CCC 2000-2005), but when it comes to special graces or charisms called habitual grace (not grace of state) that enables one to function among the people of God in certain ways like miracles, tongues, etc, he cannot, except he retraces his steps in obedience to the God who called him. For the bible says in James 5:17: the 'prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective'.

TASK: Today the Lord says through the prophet Isaiah: come let us settle the matter. Whatever the problem is: whether scandal or sins, they are all evil before God. If you have stopped going to church or confession or stopped respecting a minister or a member in the church because he or she scandalised you, it is time to settle the matter, return to your God and reunite with the body of Christ again because the Lord says: 

‘Come now, let us talk this over,
Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
‘If you are willing to obey,
you shall eat the good things of the earth.
But if you persist in rebellion,
the sword shall eat you instead.’

 Please, go and be reconciled, don't let the sword eat you!

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