March 30 - Love and Sincerity
Mar 30, 2019
Scriptures: Yesterday we saw an exchange between Jesus and a scribe who was asking Jesus questions of the law. This is a good process to have. If someone were to come to us today and say, "God wants me to be the Pope," and then some mysterious signs started to appear, the church might elect to put him to the test. To see if his message is in conformity with our sacred tradition. You can see in the scribe yesterday that his sincerity in this pursuit was just. In today's scripture we see that the scribe knew the scriptures of Hosea and psalm 51 that emphasize that God desires love not sacrifice. Or as Jesus would ask others to reflect, at another point in the Gospel, on the meaning of "The Lord desires mercy, not sacrifice." The point being that what many people point to Jesus and say is innovative is more appropriately called a fulfillment of the scriptures. Jesus is unlocking the meanings that others have just not seen. The scribe yesterday, proven by scriptures today, was humble. He was well versed in the scriptures, and instead of trying to destroy Jesus with his questions did indeed find another who shared his passion. This is in contrast to the Gospel today where the Pharisee exalts in his own righteousness. It was as if the man were singing "How great thou art" to himself about himself. Yet Jesus points to the tax collector who bows his head in the back, asks for mercy, and with sincerity speaks to God. It is sincere because he speaks to God from the true position he is in.
Core Faith Principle: The church over its 2000 year existence has always been a source of perpetual prayer to God. I like to recognize that there is someone praying at every minute of every day around the world. I am reminded that there are still those who pray like the Pharisee as a form of reinforcing their own "goodness" and convincing themselves as they talk to God that they are righteous. However, I like to think of those who are humble in prayer. They without pretense of old English or pomp, simply speak their heart to God. For some that is difficult and so in the repetition of catholic devotions, like the rosary, their soul may lift up their sincere intentions between Hail Mary's. God already knows what you need, He is all-knowing. He also knows if you're trying to trick him into giving him something you pray for. God is very smart. Because God is all knowing and God is all good, there is nothing you can add to the goodness of God by your deeds, there is also such a gap between your capability for Good and God's, that we ought not attempt to brag. So then why do we pray? Prayer is like breathing. Sharing divine life is also like breathing. A person must freely give themselves away but then open their hearts to receive the great love God has for them. So when we pray we ought to be like the tax collector. Sincerely recognizing where my will and God's will don't align. Ask for mercy and a cure to our separation. Offer all our good actions to the combined Glory of God for "only God is good." By offering ourselves fully in prayer, we can then present ourselves humble and empty to the Lord. We can ask God for our daily bread (provisions) but more importantly we can ask God to give us the opportunity to serve. We can ask Jesus to be with us. God will not invade your soul, but He will come with an invitation.
Living this at Home: Humility and sincerity. How do we develop these things in family life. First, humility, parents must set the example. Children learn humility by seeing humility. Humility does not mean that you don't celebrate or praise the Lord for the good things God gave you. It does not mean that we deny our talents or skills, it means that we need to recognize that I am merely the vessel of a grace out poured by God. We fulfill God's gifts but we ought to be on guard about talking about "My" talents, "My" accomplishments. Jesus says, "The student is never greater than the master." Jesus does not mean that the student can't surpass the master in knowledge and skill, he means that without the master, the student would have no knowledge or skill at all to improve. You can't take full credit for winning track meets, when you didn't give yourself your legs. You can't take full credit for your nobel prize when you did not give yourself the aptitude to learn. Being humble is remembering that we are only attempting fulfill the gifts God gave to us for the glory of God and the good of our neighbor. Sincerity is best practiced in household where mercy abounds. Insincerity abounds where people are unloved or are unloving. Without sincerity we lose our identity, and without our identity we can never truly be loved by another. Practice giving and receiving love and sincerity will abound.