The Darkness of Selfishness
My resolution today has to be one that helps tear down this “structure of sin” in my life
by Father James Swanson, LC | Source: Catholic.net
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the
master of the universe, and yet you wish to listen to me and guide me. You know all things past,
present and future and yet you respect my freedom to choose you. Holy Trinity, you are completely
happy and fulfilled on your own, and yet you have generously brought us into existence. You are our
fulfillment. Thank you for the gift of yourself. I offer the littleness of myself in return, knowing
you are pleased with what I have to give.
Lord Jesus, you are the master of the universe and
yet you wish to listen to me and guide me. You know all things past, present and future, and yet you
respect my freedom to choose you. Holy Trinity, you are completely happy and fulfilled on your own,
and yet you have generously brought us into existence. You are our fulfillment. Thank you for the
gift of yourself. I offer the littleness of myself in return, knowing you are pleased with what I
have to give.
Holy Spirit, please help me to open my heart to your inspirations. Help me see that
you want to speak to me through today’s Gospel.
Petition: Lord, grant me a
deeper humility, the type of humility that seeks you and not myself in all that I do, and not
1. The Stone Rejected: .
Just a few days before, a great crowd had acclaimed Jesus as the Messiah as he triumphantly entered
Jerusalem. However, the chief priests, scribes, Pharisees and Herodians see Jesus as a threat to
their own position of leadership. Though they have not yet let it be known to the people, they have
decided to reject Jesus and are already plotting together to kill him. In the meantime, they are
pretending to be making a “thorough investigation,” to find the “truth” about what the crowds have
acclaimed – that Jesus is the Messiah. What they are really doing is trying to ruin him, to catch
him in some mistake, so as to denounce him as a fraud before the crowds. They seek to break the
people’s support for him. They practice the kind of toxic politics we are so familiar with today:
Instead of seeking the common good or the truth, they only seek themselves and their own
2. The Cornerstone:. Jesus sees what his detractors are trying to do. He
tells them a series of parables, hinting that if they continue to oppose him, they will lose. In the
parable of the vineyard he tells them that they can kill him; but even so they will still lose. Then
he quotes Psalm 118, comparing himself with the rejected stone that becomes the cornerstone. What
Jesus is hinting at goes beyond just the quoted verses. The whole psalm – which Jesus’ enemies would
have known from memory – tells of Yahweh fighting for his faithful one. The faithful one will not be
abandoned to death, and the enemies of Yahweh will be defeated. It is as if Jesus throws down a
challenge: “You cannot beat me. Even if you kill me as you are planning to do, my Heavenly Father
will not abandon me to death. He will fight for me and I will become the cornerstone. You would do
better to join me.”
3. Jesus Is True Progress:. Jesus won. He continues to win today.
His enemies still insist on smashing themselves to bits. When we survey history, we see what becomes
of one group after another that oppose Jesus and his Church. They disappear into oblivion. Jesus is
the future of the whole world. He won. He continues to win and will win in the end. Since Jesus is
the future of the whole world, progress can only mean progress toward him, toward the civilization
of justice and love he wishes to establish. Those who seek their own special interests are seeking a
return to the past, to the Dark Age before Jesus. They seek to return to when humanity tried not
just to know what was good and evil (eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil), but to DECIDE it – to be gods themselves.
Conversation with Christ: Lord,
help me to be humble. Help me to accept you as Messiah and Savior – and as my future. So many times,
instead of seeking you, I seek myself. I try to influence everything so that what is good and true
is defined according to my will rather than yours. Like so many political groups and special
interest groups that are based on selfishness, I risk being broken on the cornerstone. Help me not
fight against you. Please be patient with me and help me to change.
Resolution: In what
area of my life is it hardest for me to accept the way God has organized things? Where do I most
want to set up a system opposed to God’s plan in order to get my way? My resolution today has to be
one that helps tear down this “structure of sin” in my
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