August 27, 2008
Saint Monica. Memorial
Matthew 23: 27-32
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors.
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 seek authenticity in my living the Gospel so as not to live in a spirit of deception.
1. Deceiving Oneself
Putting on masks is all too common in our world. The pressures on people to live up to a certain image or by the status quo are very real. So often, people fall into the trap of living by appearances – behind a mask – but with a complete emptiness inside. We grow lax and tell ourselves that we can get away with not living this or that aspect of the faith. When this happens, we are only fooling ourselves if we say we are faithful to Christ. This is very damaging to our conscience. Christ is calling us to live completely for him. Is there some aspect – even tiny – where I hold myself back?
2. The Call to Authenticity
Christ won’t stand by and let us live like hypocrites. He is calling us to be authentic men and women of the Kingdom. This means that we live what we believe, and we believe in what we live. There can be no contradiction between our faith and our actions. More than ever the world needs authentic witnesses of Christ who truly live out their faith in love. Love will propel us to seek greater authenticity in every aspect of our lives. We need to continue to grow in love for Christ.
3. Love Is the Answer
To grow in love we need to know Christ better. Through these past few days’ Gospels, we have been gaining more insight into who Christ is. He is allowing us to see that he is a man of integrity and conviction who loves us so much that he can’t stand to see us remain in error. St. Monica, whose feast we celebrate today, is a great example of love. She never gave up on St. Augustine, her son. She prayed daily for his conversion. Her faith was animated by the deepest of motherly loves.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I thank you once again for looking out for me and for calling me to greater intimacy with you. I want to identify fully with you and your mission, so I may bear greater witness to your love and presence in the world. As I look at your life, I see how you made it very clear to me the way I should live and act. Lord, I want to be faithful to you in all.
Resolution: I will strive to love God in all that I do today.
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