Today’s Gospel: Luke 7:31-35
It’s an unfortunate quirk of our fallen human nature to feel virtuous when we find faults and sins in one another—whether real or imagined—while ignoring our own bonifide sins. This problem plagued the ministry of Jesus:
“For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’” (Lk 7:33-34)
Picking each other apart is a habit that breeds sadness and isolation, never satisfying our hunger to feel comfortably right, while we miss two critical opportunities to be thrillingly alive:
1) The adventure of our own lives simply passes us by. By scapegoating others, we stop our own spiritual growth in its tracks. As I wrote in my book, True Radiance, I need to pay close attention to my own failings, so I can confess them and be healed, rather than wasting precious time griping about someone else’s sins — no matter how valid the complaint might be. Jesus did not die on a cross so I could spend my life complaining about the people He has given me to love.
2) We are called to seek the good in others and call it out of them by our loving regard. In Story of a Soul, St. Thérèse of Lisieux wrote that the best parts of a person are the truest parts because they are of God. In fact, focusing on what’s best in people quickly becomes a pleasure, and the more we direct our attention to what is good and beautiful, the more grace lifts up our relationships. Forgiveness and mercy are incredibly liberating to both the forgiver and the forgiven.
Who might God be calling me to pray for and love with greater generosity, tenderly calling out the good in him or her?
Holy St. Thérèse of Lisieux, ask Jesus to give me a heart that lifts up the people around me and never tears them down. Amen.
Copyright 2019 Lisa Mladinich
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