Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus confronts the Pharisees with God’s own perspective on what is needed to receive grace and salvation.  The people demanded a temple in which to perform their liturgies and sacrifices – this was not God’s demand.  God had something else in mind, but in His Providence He made provision for what the people thought they needed to render God fitting worship.  “Will you build me a house?”  The Law was given for instruction – it was never intended to be used against man.  It was given so that he might see clearly the burden he carries – his sin, his mortality, his essential solitude before the Judge of all.  It was given to make clear to man the difference between the ways of eternal life and death.  The Law was never intended to become a refuge for the perfect, the proud, the strong, as a weapon of subjugation to be used against the weak and broken. read more

Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

The image of snatching people out of the fire from Jude’s letter is quite powerful. Salvation is a gift that quenches the fire that burns us whether our conscience realizes it or not. Baptism is this water that both refreshes our soul with divine life, and quenches the fire of condemnation. Those who ruled over the affairs of the temple were afraid of losing their power or status. They were not prepared to admit the truth because they were more interested in their positions of influence. It is unfortunate to see people who prefer trying to remain in control than acknowledging that their right to remain in power depends on their real authority. Jesus has real Authority, so he is not intimidated by their questions.  He instead turned them back to John’s baptism of repentance.  Jesus’ authority to save is absolute.  He wants even to save these temple authorities who have lost sight of the essential.  He would save them from the fire they ought to feel burning their blinded consciences. When any answer we may give to a question would result in something disagreeable, we may choose at that point to walk away or submit to the truth. read more