Monday, August 22, 2011

“Rules make the learner's path long, examples make it short and successful”

Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means. - - Albert Einstein

Gospel text (Mt 23,13-22):
Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
You do not enter yourselves,
nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You traverse sea and land to make one convert,
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna
twice as much as yourselves.

"Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
'If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.'
Blind fools, which is greater, the gold,
or the temple that made the gold sacred?
And you say, 'If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.'
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift,
or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
one who swears by the temple swears by it
and by him who dwells in it;
one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God
and by him who is seated on it."

Today we celebrate one of the glorious mysteries of the rosary, the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What a joy to have a mother in heaven that cares for us! What a blessing to realize that our mother is also the Queen Mother, the one who points all of her children to her Son, the King of heaven and earth, our Lord Jesus Christ. Mary is worthy of our honor and devotion. All generations have called her “Blessed” and rightly so

In the gospel, Jesus warns us to avoid a selfish attitude, in which we refuse to give God everything. For example, the religious people in Jesus' day speculated about which oaths they could get away with (Mt 23:16-19). Today, young people ask how far they can go sexually before they commit mortal sin. Catholics call the rectory and ask if a certain Mass "counts." Many Catholics come to church at the last minute and leave immediately after Communion. They rationalize this and many other things. These are all expressions of casuistry, which is a moral philosophy based on the application of general ethical principles to resolve moral dilemmas.

Jesus did not begrudge us anything. He did not ask if just being scourged would "count" for our redemption. He did not try to shorten His time on the cross. He held nothing back. He emptied Himself (Phil 2:7) and gave us His all. If we give anything less than everything to the Lord, we turn others away from God, and worse than that, we refuse to love Jesus.

Let us look to the example our Blessed Mother gave us. How she completely surrendered to the Lord. “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38). It was Mary’s Fiat, her “yes”, that changed the world. Just think, Jesus is inviting us to say “yes” to him today.

What will your answer be?

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