When Jesus confronts our sins

October 17, 2019 – Thursday 28th Week in Ordinary Time

A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (3:21-30)

Brothers and sisters:
Now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law,
though testified to by the law and the prophets,
the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ
for all who believe.
For there is no distinction;
all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.
They are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption in Christ Jesus,
whom God set forth as an expiation,
through faith, by his Blood, to prove his righteousness
because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed,
through the forbearance of God–
to prove his righteousness in the present time,
that he might be righteous
and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.

What occasion is there then for boasting?  It is ruled out.
On what principle, that of works?
No, rather on the principle of faith.
For we consider that a person is justified by faith
apart from works of the law.
Does God belong to Jews alone?
Does he not belong to Gentiles, too?
Yes, also to Gentiles, for God is one
and will justify the circumcised on the basis of faith
and the uncircumcised through faith.

Psalm 130

R. (7) With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (11:47-54)

The Lord said:
“Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets
whom your fathers killed.
Consequently, you bear witness and give consent
to the deeds of your ancestors,
for they killed them and you do the building.
Therefore, the wisdom of God said,
‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles;
some of them they will kill and persecute’
in order that this generation might be charged
with the blood of all the prophets
shed since the foundation of the world,
from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah
who died between the altar and the temple building.
Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!
Woe to you, scholars of the law!
You have taken away the key of knowledge.
You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.”
When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees
began to act with hostility toward him
and to interrogate him about many things,
for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

Homily

It is not easy to be confronted by others because of our failures and sins. People who tend to display a strong image with a sense of self-righteousness will mostly be resistant towards his or her critics. This happens to us when we think highly of ourselves that we forget how to be humble and accepting of negative comments and confrontations.

Moreover, when we have grown to be arrogant, we display an air of contempt towards those whom we believed are threatening our good image. Thus, we become hostile and aggressive towards those who confront us and friendly only to those who flatter us.

These are the attitudes that we also find in the Gospel today. As Jesus confronted the failures and sins of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, they were so unfriendly towards Jesus. Jesus even pointed out how their ancestors resulted to killings of the prophets in the Old Testament in order to hide their sins from the people. Those Jews in the Old and the Pharisees and teachers of the law wanted to keep the people away from the truth and from God. That is why, in order to advance their own interest, to preserve their status quo, and their privileges and influence in the community, they have developed ways of slaving the people. These include the many laws they have created, the taxes they imposed upon the people, and the gap they developed among their people.

And because Jesus confronted them about these, they could not accept it. Hence, as a retaliation they planned to also silence Jesus by killing him.

They indeed were cursed as Jesus said because God has already come to them but then they still failed to recognize him in Jesus. The Lord has revealed himself to them but still they refused God’s offer of salvation. These people were without faith. They did not worship God but themselves alone.

Jesus confronts us of our sins and failures not to demean us or to humiliate us but to make us realize of God’s mercy.

The Psalm proclaims joyfully to us today, “With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.”

The Lord desires our reconciliation with him and our freedom.

Peace and freedom are not achieved by being hostile and vicious towards those who confront us of our mistakes and sins. A fulfilled life is not attained by our denial and arrogance but through humility and honesty.

This is what Jesus wants us to be that we become persons who are not trapped by our mere personal desires. The Lord desires that we become free and truthful to ourselves because it is in this way the we shall also find life meaningful and become life-giving in our relationships may it be in within our family and friends or with our colleagues at work.

Thus, let us allow Jesus to confront us. His confrontations with us may appear in different forms. This could be through a lingering guilt and shame of the past sins that we have done, or through a friend and colleague who has the nerve to confront us, or through a family member who took the risk of making us aware of our sins and mistakes.

Expect also that it will not be easy. To be criticized and be confronted by our sins will bring discomfort in us, but do not resist, be accepting rather and humble enough to look ourselves closer so that we too shall find how merciful our God is. We shall discover also how God desires our transformation to become a better and life-giving person. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR

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A Dose of God Today

A-Dose-of-God-Today : Your Daily Spiritual Nourishment, tries to put into words the thoughts and experiences of the wonder of life through the Holy Scriptures and the many invitations of God today.

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