THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for March 19th, 2014
Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent
Solemnity of St. Joseph
ST. PAUL once said that “if Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching; empty, too, your faith.” cf. 1 Cor 15:14 It could also be said, if there is no such thing as sin or hell, then empty too is our preaching; empty too, your faith; Christ has died in vain, and our religion is worthless.
Today’s readings tells us of the long awaited coming of David’s successor, a king who would establish an everlasting kingdom. He would be the one through whom the promise to Abraham, the father of many nations, would be fulfilled. He was born of Mary, wife to Joseph of the line of David. And His name isJesus—Hebrew for Joshua, which means “Yahweh saves.” Thus, Jesus came for one single purpose:
…because he will save his people from their sins. (Today’s Gospel)
Yes, let us be tolerant. Let us be merciful. Let us be kind, gentle and compassionate. But let us never forget the heart of the mission of Jesus Christ, which we share by virtue of our baptism: to lead others to salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.
But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” (Rom 10:14-15)
And the good news is this: Jesus has come to save His people from their sins. There is no good news then without a Savior. There is no Savior unless there is something to be saved from. And what we are saved from is our sin.
But only if we repent.
…indeed His purpose was not merely to confirm the world in its worldliness and to be its companion, leaving it completely unchanged. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, September 25th, 2011; www.chiesa.com
And therefore, we cannot shrink from our duty as Christians to share the good news that not only is there eternal life after death, but that we are no longer separated from that Life, and what has and continues to separate us from that Life, is our sin.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23)
There is no such thing as Christianity without confession, Religion without repentance, Salvation without sorrow, a Kingdom without contrition, Heaven without humility. The scandal today, the Great Scandal of our times, is a Church that in many places no longer understands why their Lord and Savior died for them, and therefore what they themselves must do in order to become a sign of hope for the world.
To repent is not just to acknowledge that I have done wrong; it is to turn my back on the wrong and start incarnating the Gospel. On this hinges the future of Christianity in the world today. The world does not believe what Christ taught because we do not incarnate it. —Servant of God Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Kiss of Christ
Perhaps the world will begin to believe again when we start to live what we preach, preach what we believe, and believe the purpose for which Jesus came: to suffer and die to take away our sins….
It was for this purpose that I came to this hour. (John 12:27)
May we never be ashamed to proclaim this truth: the necessity to turn from sin, because in doing so, we rob others of the joy of the Gospel, which is to know the healing love and power of the Cross of Christ that delivers us from guilt, oppression, and eternal death.
The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness… Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace.” —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 1, 3
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|1.||↑||cf. 1 Cor 15:14|