Thursday, March 7, 2013

It's the Third Week of Lent. How are we doing?

You were amazed to hear me approve of the lack of ‘uniformity’ in that apostolate in which you work. And I told you: Unity and variety. You have to be different from one another, as the saints in heaven are different, each having their own personal and special characteristics. But also as alike one another as the saints, who would not be saints if they had not each identified themselves with Christ. - St. Josemaría Escrivá

(Gospel Text: Lk 11:14-23)
Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself, 
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

Our readings at Today's Mass confront us with the fact that darkness can overcome whole nations. Evil can cloud the moral vision of an entire people to the point that they no longer even recognize God. Instead, they reject His messengers, shut their ears to His Word and choose to enslave themselves by their wrong choices.

We need to face the reality that even religious people can become blinded by sin. That includes you and me. Failure to turn from sin can cloud our own vision. It can even lead us to the place revealed in the Gospel account where, those who purported to be religious attribute the things of God to the things of the devil.

Our choices matter. They not only change the world around us, but they make us to be the kinds of persons we become. What we choose either humanizes us further or leads us, ultimately, into slavery. The Catechism of the Catholic Church addresses these wrong exercises of human freedom reminding us of the extraordinary implications of our use of our power to choose: "Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself." (CCC # 1861.)

It is not simply the fact that we can choose which makes us free. Rather, it is who, how and what we choose. Authentic Human Freedom will never be found in decisions that are made against God, the Natural Law and the truth as revealed in Jesus Christ and taught by his Church. We began our Forty Days of Lent hearing the admonition to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.

How are we doing?

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