Jesus Is At It Again!

2023년 11월 5일

Jesus Is At It Again!

<  Thirty – First Sunday in Ordinary Time >

     Over the past weeks we have looked at the various reasons the religious authorities of his day not only hated Jesus, but they wanted him dead. He offered forgiveness “free of charge.” That is, he did not support the Temple practice of requiring costly animal sacrifice in atonement for sins. Rather, a repentant heart alone drew the mercy of God. He dined with tax collectors and sinners. Or as one person put it, if Jesus didn’t dine with sinners, he and his mother would always be eating alone. He defended women. He spoke with Samaritans. He healed a Roman soldier’s servant. And in today’s gospel, he calls out the religious leaders for their hypocrisy. He tells us to listen to those in authority (in our case, cardinals, bishops, and yes, even priests, but “do not imitate them!”We in religious life must take extra care that our vestments and clerical clothes are not so luxurious that they resemble more a follower of Julius Caesar than of Jesus Christ. In that vein, last week Pope Francis called it a scandal that seminarians in Rome were visiting clerical clothing stores to try out vestments with lace and fancy cassocks. (I hope the Pope doesn’t see what I’m wearing!)

    Above all, no matter what we wear, we all must be careful that our actions, especially what we do in public, reflect well on our Church and on our God! Put another way, when people see what we do, they should not be surprised to learn we are Catholic. Do we defend people who are being ridiculed or attacked? Do we help the poor, not just with charity but with dignity and respect? Do we come to the aid of those who are being oppressed or bullied, especially if they are of a different race or religion? Do we speak out when someone spreads gossip about others, especially if they are not present to defend themselves? If someone makes a joke about the pope or Catholicism, do we laugh to fit in with the crowd or do we stare at the perpetrator in stony silence? As we prepare to enter Advent with its day of Confessions, let us look at all the times we failed to be good Catholics and promise, by God’s grace, to do better.