Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 23, 2020)

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 23, 2020)

Original Sin is a basic concept of Christianity. The idea, as laid out in the first few words of the bible, is that God created humanity in right relationship with Him (Genesis 1:26 – 31). Our original parents, however, turned away from God and brought conflict into the world (Genesis 3). If you don’t believe in the doctrine of original sin pull up the news. The paradox of human existence is that most of us hate conflict and love harmony. Yet, so often each of us creates conflict.  Have you ever had someone criticize something you’ve done or have you ever offered a criticism for something to someone you cared about? How often is the response something like, “You’re an idiot”?  Instead of having a discussion, you have a fight.

The words of Sacred Scripture are inspired by the Holy Spirit. Often they represent that oxymoron, common sense. The book of Leviticus tells us, “You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart. Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen, do not incur sin because of him.” (Leviticus 19:17 – 18). In the Gospel for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Christ makes the outrageous statement that we should not oppose evil (Matthew 5:38 – 48). He is not talking here about physical violence or crime, this is about when someone we know treats us in a way that we feel is unfair. Christ gives very subtle but profound comments, “God makes His sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45). Think about that. If we live just lives, rain will not fall on us? The sun rises on everyone. Rain falls on everyone. We all have our difficult moments. How do we move beyond the veniality of human existence?

Christ came into the world to make the sacrifice by which we are offered forgiveness of our sins and unity with God (CCC 457). That is the point of the Mass.  At Mass, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. The Mass is the same sacrifice offered by Christ on the cross (CCC 1330, 1365 – 1367). Christ gave us the sacrament of confession where our sins are forgiven. We have, in the teaching of Christ, a sure rule for living authentic human life. We get that in the words of Sacred Scripture and the teaching of the Church. A lot of these words are (that oxymoron) common sense. We don’t want to fight with parents, siblings, spouses, yet, in the moment, we need to win that fight. The reality is that hearing (or reading) the word is not enough. To have authentic relationships with the human beings around us we have to have a full relationship with Christ. We need to pray every day, with the people we love. We need to seek healing in the sacrament of Confession. We need to encounter God at Mass in the Eucharist and, in the midst of that relationship, hear His Word and live it.


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