Monday, August 22, 2016

“…when the door starts closing a bit because of our weakness and sins, confession reopens it.”

"Everyone say to himself: ‘When was the last time I went to confession?’ And if it has been a long time, don’t lose another day! Go, the priest will be good. And Jesus, will be there, and Jesus is better than the priests - Jesus receives you. He will receive you with so much love! Be courageous, and go to confession,”  - Pope Francis on Feb. 19, 2014

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.”

In the Gospel reading, Jesus denounces the religious leaders of his time for their lack of godliness and sincerity. He accuses them of hypocrisy; of cleansing the outside while being defiled in the inside. 

This applies to all of us who call ourselves people of God.  We are all sinners, fallen and in great need of God's grace.

Jesus is calls us out of our conceited selves and reminds us that holiness is not something that we put on for others to see and notice. It is more important to nurture our relationship with God than to receive the empty admiration of others. 

Cleaning from within through repentance before God, especially through the sacrament of Reconciliation, and being truthful at whatever cost brings us closer to God, "Purify the inside first, then the outside too will be purified."      

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