THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for November 22nd, 2017
Wednesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of St. Cecilia, Martyr
Liturgical texts here
THE first sin of Adam and Eve was not eating the “forbidden fruit.” Rather, it was that they broke trust with the Creator—trust that He had their best interests, their happiness, and their future in His hands. This broken trust is, to this very hour, the Great Wound in the heart of each of us. It is a wound in our inherited nature that leads us to doubt God’s goodness, His forgiveness, providence, designs, and above all, His love. If you want to know how serious, how intrinsic this existential wound is to the human condition, then look at the Cross. There you see what was necessary to begin the healing of this wound: that God himself would have to die in order to mend what man himself had destroyed.cf. Why Faith?
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. (John 3:16)
You see, it’s all about trust. To “believe” in God again means to trust His Word.
Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners. (Luke 5:31-32)
So do you qualify? Of course. But many of us allow the Great Wound to dictate otherwise. Zacchaeus’encounter with Jesus revealed the truth:
The sinner who feels within himself a total deprivation of all that is holy, pure, and solemn because of sin, the sinner who in his own eyes is in utter darkness, severed from the hope of salvation, from the light of life, and from the communion of saints, is himself the friend whom Jesus invited to dinner, the one who was asked to come out from behind the hedges, the one asked to be a partner in His wedding and an heir to God… Whoever is poor, hungry, sinful, fallen or ignorant is the guest of Christ. —Matthew the Poor, The Communion of Love, p.93
In today’s Gospel, the Master leaves to attain for himself the kingship. Indeed, Jesus has ascended to the Father in Heaven in order to establish His Kingdom and reign in us. The “gold coins” that Christ has left us are contained in “the sacrament of salvation”,Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 780which is the Church and all she possesses in order to restore us to Him: His teachings, authority, and the Sacraments. Moreover, Jesus has given us the golden coins of grace, the Holy Spirit, the intercession of the Saints, and His own mother to assist us. There are no excuses—the King has left us “every spiritual blessing in the heavens” Eph 1:2 in order to restore us to Him. If the “gold coins” are His gifts of grace, then “faith” is what we return with this investment through trust and obedience.
Jesus is demanding, because He wishes our genuine happiness. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, World Youth Day Message for 2005, Vatican City, Aug. 27th, 2004, Zenit.org
But when the Master returns, he finds one of his servants cowering in fear and laziness, pity and self-love.
Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man… (Today’s Gospel)
This week, I had an email exchange with a man who has stopped going to the Sacraments because of his pornographic addiction. He wrote:
I am still struggling mightily for purity and my soul. I just can’t seem to beat it. I love God and our Church so very much. I want to be a better man so much, but no matter what I know I should do and learn from others like you, I am just stuck in this vice. I allow it to keep me from practicing my faith also, which is very damaging, but it is what it is. Sometimes I get inspired and think this is the time I truly change but alas I fall back once again.
Here is a man who has lost faith that God can forgive him one more time. Really, it is wounded pride that now keeps him from the confessional; self-pity that deprives him from the medicine of the Eucharist; and self-dependence that prevents him from seeing reality.
The sinner thinks that sin prevents him from seeking God, but it is just for this that Christ has descended to ask for man! —Matthew the Poor, The Communion of Love, p. 95
Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 3
If you have to go to confession every week, every day, then go! This is not permission to sin, but admission that you are broken. One has to take concrete steps to never sin again, yes, but if you think you can liberate yourself without the help of the Liberator, then you are deceived. You will never find your true dignity unless you let God love you—as you are—so that you may become who you should be. It begins by learning the art of having an Invincible Faith in Jesus, which is trusting that one can begin again… and again and again.
My child, all your sins have not wounded My Heart as painfully as your present lack of trust does that after so many efforts of My love and mercy, you should still doubt My goodness. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1486
Do not take this love and mercy for granted, dear brothers and sisters! Your sin is not a stumbling block for God, but your lack of faith is. Jesus has paid the price for your sins, and is ready, always, to forgive again. In fact, through the Holy Spirit, He even gives you the gift of faith.cf. Eph 2:8 But if you reject it, if you ignore it, if you bury it under a thousand excuses… then, He who loved you unto death, will say when you meet Him face to face:
With your own words I shall condemn you… (Today’s Gospel)
I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire
so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on
so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed,
and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see.
Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise.
Be earnest, therefore, and repent.
To be continued…
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