Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Killing The Prophet

In Tomorrow's Gospel we see Jesus again speaking gloom and doom to the Pharisees and Scribes. It's easy for us today to look back and almost cheer him on, 'get those bad Pharisees!'  We like to have an enemy, a they, to place all the blame on.  We want to be on the side of good.  It's easier to feel like we are when we place all the blame on 'them.'  When we really examine what Jesus said though, it might make us squirm a little ourselves.

"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"

Jesus reminded them by their very actions they supported the actions of their ancestors.  In building these tombs and monuments they are applauding the events that happened, as if they are proud of their ancestors for killing the prophets sent to them with God's word.  I'm not guilty of that, we say.  I never killed anyone and surely I've never applauded anyone for doing so? 

Yet, every time we are complacent in someone's sin.... every time we stand idly by not condemning bad actions or aiding in reformation of behavior... we have consented to their deeds.  When we buy that coffee from that organization we know does things we don't approve of, we have consented.   When we vote for that candidate that we know stands for something that is against our faith, we have consented.   When we stand in silent agreement, even nodding our hands, as someone gossips and tears down another individual... we have consented. 

How?  Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins.   Every time we allow a sin to occur without speaking up, we have killed the prophet.  In a way we are worse than the Pharisees indeed.   They supported the actions of their fathers who killed the prophets before them, but we support the actions of those who are responsible for God himself having to go to the cross and die in our place... in fact, not only do we support those actions.. we often are the ones committing them.   "Woe to you who sin or stand silently while another sins, You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter."

Even more telling is the response of the Pharisees and Scribes, they began to interrogate him "for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say."    How many of us have at some point in our life tried to get around something God has told us?  "Ooh, I'm supposed to Fast on every Friday, but if I give up chocolate that's kind of fasting."   "Technically, even though Mass starts at 8, Communion doesn't occur till 8:30.. so I can eat at 7:30."  How often do we look for ways around doing what we should?  Plotting to get around what God said, or to twist it into something that is more convenient or easy for us. God forbid!

There is hope though!  A great light shining in the darkness!  "For there is no distinction; all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God."   The first reading reminds us that Jesus, though we didn't deserve it, through God's grace and grace alone, provided a way through our human weakness, through His sacrifice on the cross.   To both Jew and Gentile, all of mankind, is the offer of salvation and freedom from sin.  Faith!  We must grow in this grace and learn to have faith in God.   That even when we fail, even when we sin, we must place that sin at the foot of the Cross, trusting in his forgiveness.   We go to the Church, we go to the Sacraments, we ask Jesus for his Grace and we know that it will come.    We ask him to come and change us, to help us grow and to do better next time. As the responsorial Psalm reminds us, "With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption." 

Tomorrow as we celebrate the Memorial of Teresa of Jesus, let us remember to increase our time with the Lord.  Let us reach out to have a mystical experience with him.  Let us find him in the stillness of our heart and the silence of prayerful contemplation.  Tomorrow, find a moment to invite God into your life and simply sit with him, singing in prayerful confidence:

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

In Christ,