Thursday, October 20, 2011

Freed from Sin

October 20, 2011

Thursday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:22-23

"I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. Luke 12:49-51


Everything is beautiful in its own way

Like a starry summer night

Or a snow-covered winter's day

And everybody's beautiful, in their own way

Under God's Heaven

The world's gonna find a way

There is none so blind

As he who will not see

We must not close our minds

We must let our thoughts be free

For every hour that passes by

You know the world gets a little bit older

It's time to realize that beauty lies

In the eyes of the beholder

We shouldn't care 'bout the length of his hair

Or the color of his skin

Don't worry about what shows from without

But the love that lives within


When we focus on only the friendship part of Cursillo, messages like the one today might fall on deaf ears. Jesus is warning his followers that he is here to breed division. This is not the love, peace and happiness message. This is the other part of what he told us and showed us in his life-example.

Warnings against sin abound in our reading of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. These go beyond just our personal transformation. We also must warn others to change their ways. As we learn from the prophet Ezekiel, "I have appointed you a sentinel for the house of Israel.When you hear a word from my mouth, you shall warn them for me. If I say to the wicked, You shall surely die—and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade the wicked from their evil conduct in order to save their lives—then they shall die for their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their blood."

St. Paul told the Galatians, "Make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows, because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit. Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.(Galatians 6:7-9)

Personal choice and personal responsibility are at the heart of this path. We have to choose to deny ourselves and focus externally. Jesus recognizes that everyone won't behave that way. There will be those who hear his message and act upon it and those who do not. That is the ultimate division. There also will be many permutations. There will be some who misinterpret what he is saying and continue their current behavior. There will be those who do not change the direction in which they are looking for happiness.


The time is here to be rich in what matters to God. God does not care if you wear Salvatore Ferragamo shoes or carry a Gucci purse. God does not care if you wear a Rolex. Janis Joplin was looking in the wrong place. The Lord will not buy you a Mercedes-Benz.

We have to deny what is peddled by Madison Avenue, Wall Street, K Street and Hollywood. We have to accept what is peddled on the path to Calvary, the temples of Nazareth and the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

So how do we take the first step, or the next step? There was never such division as on Good Friday when the followers ran and hid and left the fate of Jesus up to the Romans and the Pharisees.

Our first step means we have to come out of hiding as Christians and steps into the open world and proclaim what we believe in our words and in our actions. We must show upon which side of the divide we stand.