August 26, 2008
Tuesday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 23: 23-26
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel! "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.
Introductory Prayer: My God, I believe in you with all my heart because you have made yourself known to me in so many ways, especially through the gift of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope in you because you have never abandoned me. I love you, Lord, because you have loved me first and have shed your blood for my salvation. I want to love you with my whole life. Recognizing my sinfulness and trusting in your mercy, I humble myself before you. Mother Mary, I entrust my life to your maternal care so that I will always be faithful to God’s holy will for my life.
Petition: Lord, help me to work hard to form a sensitive conscience, always fighting against the temptation to justify my actions.
1. The Truth Hurts Christ is saying some tough words to the Pharisees. He knows that they have allowed bad habits to become deep-seated, and he wants to shake them up – as well as to warn us not to succumb to the same vices. Christ never compromises the truth. He always seeks, however, the good of the soul in question, and so his charity is always perfect. Some souls need the hammer effect, others a gentle nudge. God knows us thoroughly and wants to warn us of the dangers that seek to damage our relationship with him. Is God trying to show me anything? Am I attentive?
2. Form Your Conscience Christ is forming the consciences of his listeners with what he is saying. The spiritual life does not consist merely of going through the motions or reciting some formulas; it is lived with our entire being: mind, heart, body and soul. Christ wants each of us to take the formation of our conscience seriously, so that we will fulfill his will faithfully. Each day we are given ample opportunity to form them and identify with the truth that Christ came to reveal. What is my attitude towards that which Christ asks of me through the Church?
3. Faithful to Christ Christ is teaching us not to follow the example of the Pharisees. That much is very obvious. But, he doesn’t stop there: Christ is calling us to fidelity. That is why after each correction, he tells the Pharisees what they should be doing instead. Christ doesn’t leave us hanging with nowhere to go. Christ has given us a specific plan to live out. He has called us to be faithful to him, to his Gospel, to the truth that alone will set us free. Am I willing to work hard not only to form my conscience, but also to be faithful to Christ unto death?
Conversation with Christ: Christ, I thank you for loving me so much that you won’t let me stay in my sins. You call me forth. You call me to holiness, and Lord, I want to be holy as you are holy. I want to live my Catholic faith with deeper conviction and fidelity. With all the pressures and temptations of the world it isn’t easy at times, but I know that you will never leave me an orphan.
Resolution: Today I will work on one point in which I am conscious of being slacking.
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