From Our Pastor: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus is pretty tough in the gospel this weekend. He is calling out the hypocrisy of the scribes and the Pharisees. We all can be hypocrites at times, and I hear this as a reason from many why they don’t come to church – because all those people are hypocrites, as they say one thing and do another.
This is a great challenge from these people to us who live the faith to truly live it because we don’t want to be a stumbling block to Christ. BUT the people who say this must also realize that saying we come to church doesn’t mean we are proclaiming we are perfect, or hopefully we don’t take that stance; but instead that we are imperfect and that’s why we need to be here to be perfected by Christ and His presence and grace.
The struggle in the gospel is the scribes and the Pharisees putting on a good outer show of “I am perfect without work on the inner spiritual life.” We can fall into this pit and say, “See, I come to church, so I don’t need to do anything else in my spiritual life,” but Jesus is calling us to so much more. Coming to Mass is not the ultimate reality of living the faith!
In fact, coming to Mass and going to confession are not even the fullness of the bottom rung of what Christ is asking of us. The precepts of the Church call for more and they are the very bottom reality of living out the faith. Christ is calling us to Mass and confession, but He is calling us to fully give our hearts to Him, to live the life of discipleship and stewardship, to give of ourselves to one another, to seek out the lost, to love the sinner, to hate sin, to pray fervently and always, to be a witness to the gospel, to live the faith, to turn away from sin, to live the commandments, and so much more. He is calling us to have an interior life that matches what is visible on the exterior; live out following the Lord in action but live out giving your whole heart on the inside.
The most basic life of faith is not where Christ desires you to stay, but instead He calls you to more. Answer that call for others to see, but also for the Lord to see even when no one else is there to witness it. Be of single heart and mind, but that is done in obedience to conforming your heart and mind to the Lord’s.
- Rev. Steven Arisman