Monday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time, September 7
In the Faith Which You and I Embrace, We Have Come to Know and Believe the Truth That, in Christ Alone, God is Truly Our Only Refuge in Life.
Today’s Gospel brings us into a synagogue for the Sabbath service, and we hear Jesus asking the scribes and Pharisees, “…is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil…?”
Of course, Jesus was referring to healing the withered hand of a man who was attending the Sabbath services. Ignoring the cold-hearted thoughts of the religious leaders who were watching and judging what Jesus would do, our Lord healed the man’s hand.
And Scripture tells us that “…they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.”
A few days from now, we will be honoring the memory of all those who lost their lives on September 11th nineteen years ago. Again, our Lord’s words penetrate the hearts of both the godly and godless, “Is it lawful to do good…or evil?”
Have you or I ever really taken the time to truly think about what motivates a person to willingly choose to think or act in such a way that would cause common sense to take a backseat to foolishness or acts of thoughtlessness or imprudence or mindless violence?
Why would the Pharisees be so blinded to the Love of God, especially on the Sabbath, a day which was made by God for man, so that man might take the time to speak about and truly live the love which he should have for his God, by truly living the love which men and women should show towards one another?
And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, put this question to them, and to each of us as well, “Is it lawful to do good…or evil?”
The Pharisees where teachers of the Law, defenders of the Jewish religion. Yet, the prestige and the honor which they enjoyed seemed to prevail over what they had learned. Common sense took a backseat to a false sense of pride and arrogance, thinking and believing that they knew best, that they were the only ones who knew the mind of God.
And falsely knowing the mind of God, falsely believing that their way was the way of God through a perverted set of beliefs, was the thinking of the nineteen terrorists who hijacked four jet airliners and created tremendous devastation and grief for thousands of innocent people!
Yet, history is replete with instances of people – those who lead and those who follow – who follow a path which is overwhelmed with darkness and shadowy lies and perversions. And the innocent sadly suffer as a consequence.
And in this false sense in which man is deluded and in which they cause great harm to others – whether that harm be physical, emotional or spiritual – they fail to recognize or accept God’s Truth in the words of today’s psalmist, “For you, O God, delight not in wickedness; no evil man remains with you; the arrogant may not stand in your sight. You hate all evildoers.”
When we look at the culture in which we live today – a culture filled with materialism and secularistic pleasures, together with arrogant thinking and behavior, even senseless violence in some parts of the world, it is not difficult to imagine how some people can be seduced into embracing the lies and deceptions which Satan espouses and spews from his darkened heart against God’s children.
Sadly, however, there are also those, who were brought up to know and understand their faith, who have also chosen to give in to this seduction. There are those, who once actively practiced their faith and who embraced the joy and the peace they once felt when receiving the Sacraments as a child – who have traded it all in for the empty promises, the shallow pleasures and the shadowy world of unholy mayhem which secularism, materialistic and sexual gratifications and ungodly power provide!
In the dark path which some have followed, they have lost sight of the True Light of the world. They have sadly lost sight of God Himself and His will for them in their daily lives.
Even in my own family, as I am sure in countless others, I have seen some of my relatives choose to follow a dark path rather than embrace the True Light. They had been brought up to know better. They had been brought up to “…know, love and serve God”, as the old Baltimore Catechism used to teach us.
Yet, their choice was one that was contrary to the will of God, a choice that was freely made. And if anyone attempted to guide them back onto the right path, they would immediately build a “brick wall” – a barrier between themselves and what they might falsely term as religious fanaticism – because they had become so deeply entrenched in what can only be described as moral relativism, a seduction which blinds the mind and the heart to, what can only be described as, good old-fashioned common sense. They could no longer see God’s Truth through all the lies which they freely chose to embrace.
And Jesus’ question echoes over and over again, “Is it lawful to do good…or evil?”
As I have written before in other meditations, each and every one of us, from the moment of our conception, is a child of God. Each and every one of us, by virtue of our Baptism, is born into the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ! If we truly believe this, then we also know that we are each called to live a life which embraces the faith which we are taught.
The life we have been given, the faith which we have received – are all gifts from God, freely offered, freely given out of the unfathomable and indescribable Love which God has for each and every one of us.
Not one of us is perfect, and yet God still loves us, in spite of all our imperfections. And as Saint Paul tells us today in describing his feelings regarding the incestuous relationship of a “…man living with his father’s wife”, we are each called to cleanse from ourselves all that keeps us bound to Satan!
In the words of Saint Paul today, we read, “…let us celebrate…not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” – an image of corruption and sin versus purity and righteousness.
And for those of us who freely choose to live our faith, in spite of all the seductions which surround us on every side, Christ is there to heal our sinfulness, to make whole our wretchedness, and to strengthen us against all of Satan’s seductions. Christ is there to heal our withered hearts and souls, just as He healed the withered hand in today’s Gospel Reading.
And in this knowledge, we have come to know and believe, and we have opened our hearts to embrace the truth that, in Christ Jesus, God is truly our one and only Refuge!
He is truly the “common sense” which guides us in our daily pilgrimage through life! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Then Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?’” (Luke 6:9)
- “Looking around at them all, he then said to [the man], ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He did so and his hand was restored. But [the scribes and Pharisees] became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.” (Luke 6:10-11)
- “Why do the nations protest and the peoples conspire in vain? Kings on earth rise up and princes plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one…The one enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord derides them, Then he speaks to them in his anger…” (Psalm 2:1-2, 4-5a)
- “You are not a god who delights in evil; no wicked person finds refuge with you; the arrogant cannot stand before your eyes. You hate all who do evil; you destroy those who speak falsely. A bloody and fraudulent man the LORD abhors.” (Psalm 5:5-7)
- “Therefore let us celebrate…not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:8)
- “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)
- “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)
- “O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my God, my rock of refuge! My shield, my saving horn, my stronghold, my refuge, my savior, from violence you keep me safe.” (2 Samuel 22:2b-3)
- “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” (Luke 1:46b-47)
- “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress.” (Psalm 46:2)
Prayer for the Day
“Most Merciful and Loving Father, Your Son suffered unbearable anguish; He willingly poured out His Most Precious Blood in fulfillment of Your will because of my transgressions.
“I was born in sin, totally dependent upon Your Love. My human nature is filled with so many faults and I am prone to so much weakness. And, yet, Your Son Jesus still died on His Cross – for me.
“I know Your grace has the power to cleanse me of my many sins and to make me more like Your Son.
“Thank you for Your goodness and love for me. I humbly pray, Heavenly Father, in Your Mercy, please watch over and protect me always. For it is in You alone where I feel secure. Amen.”Anonymous