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Going to Him, all things are possible

Thứ sáu - 10/03/2017 06:49
"If You, O Lord, mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand? But with You is mercy and forgiveness" (Ps 130:3-4).


"If You, O Lord, mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand? But with You is mercy and forgiveness" (Ps 130:3-4).
Deacon John Ruscheinsky
The conversation with the prophet Ezekiel in today's first reading makes clear that God seeks authentic faith-filled living. It does not matter how a person is called to return to faithfulness, or under what precise circumstances he converts from wicked ways. The fact that he leaves his world of darkness and comes to the light is what matters. The ministry of the prophet - and that which is entrusted by Christ to his community of believers in baptism - is to call people back home to God's covenant love. Sinfulness and wandering from God's embrace often is the result of a combination of blindness, hidden drives and spiritual laziness. God wants us back home where we belong. The prophet's word is one which is to restore, not chastise and distance. Real moral culpability is to be found in the one who knows the path of goodness and knowingly turns away from it. Theologically, we call that "sin," the free and conscious choice for alienation from God, self or neighbor.
The image of God keeping score and preparing excoriation for sin is not supported by the prophetic tradition of Israel. God plays fair; he wants conversion and communion. A desire for punishment and retribution may be our fundamental sense of justice. It is not God's, so why should it be ours - either for ourselves or for others? Lent is a good time to let the words of the psalmist echo in our prayer: "If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?"
The Pharisee's preoccupation about how we stand before God (righteousness) is one we should share. The obligation to do good and to avoid evil is the root dictate of conscience. The human heart continually asks: What must I do to be faithful to who I am as God's child? The answer is found in a persistent attentiveness of the heart to be good and to do good. The opposite - sin - must always be avoided, no matter how great or small. Sin of any size or shape does cannot find a home in a true relationship with God.
Jesus tells his disciples - that's us - that our pursuit of right standing before God must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees. The crux of the matter seems to be found in the interpretation and manipulation of God's law in order to protect against its soul-searching judgment. The Pharisees and their cabal of scribes measured good and bad in terms of external behavior. They were prone to parse sin into sizes big and small. The big is to be avoided at all cost, but the small somehow can be tolerated, it not excused. (Is there a familiar echo here of the customary sorting of mortal and venial sins?)
The question of rightness before God carries with it a sense of immediateness. It is a matter which must be addressed now, at any and every time in our lives. Right living is God's demand in the moment, not the future. Moreover, the litmus test is not the size or weight of sin. The identification and measuring of sin is to be found in the heart. It may or may not be found displayed in external behavior. Moreover, no kind or size of sin is tolerable in the eyes of God. It is sub-human and must be rejected. Now! Any time is the time to engage in the effort, not just Lent.
Points to Ponder and Pray

What is my level of toleration of sin? Why should any form of sinfulness be tolerated? Where is sin held protectively in my heart?
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Từ khóa: Mt 5:20-26, mc1, thuong-xot, toi-loi,

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