Monday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 1:1-7, Psalm 139:1-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-10, & Luke 17:1-6
How many of us can honestly claim that we read and are familiar with the Book of Wisdom? It belongs to the "Wisdom Books" of the Old Testament and is a beautiful read. The reading from today is from Chapter One is introduced with "Exhortation to Justice, the Key to Life." It is followed with "Love justice, you who judge the earth; think of the Lord in goodness and seek Him in integrity of heart." There are nineteen chapters in the Book of Wisdom, and they are all worth reading.
The Psalm praises God for the fact that He is always present. No matter what we do, no matter where we go, He will always be with us. A very reassuring thought that God is always near to us.
However, in the Gospel narrative of Saint Luke, Christ is not quite as reassuring. Mark Twain once said, "It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me; it's the parts that I do understand," and this is one of those parts. It is not one of those "I'm Okay, you're Okay verses. It is Jesus saying, "I'm Okay, you're not Okay, but I can make it Okay." Christ issues a warning to His disciples but then offers them guidance and reassurance. He says that there will always be sin, but for someone who causes a child to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck. We now know Jesus' feelings about leading children astray.
Throughout the world's history, we have heard of the hardships children have had and still must endure. I am mainly speaking of child labor, sexual assault, bullying, and many other criminal acts of betrayal of trust from adults, leading to a lifetime of physical and psychological scars and, unfortunately, suicide. We pray for the children, and we pray that crimes against children end.
The Gospel continues to speak about sin, which is a topic that I embrace with vigor. I suspect that I've become influenced too much by the norms of our society which seem to reject the notion of sin. As I reflected on the readings, the words of Pope Francis came to mind when he was asked, "Who is Jorge Bergoglio?" and he quickly responded, "I am a sinner." It is good to know that I am in the same company as the Pope.
Friends, today's readings dwell on the effects of sin and the resolution to bring us back into the sunlight of the Spirit. We see in Wisdom that the all-embracing God knows our hearts and will forgive us if we genuinely repent. In Luke, we receive the lesson on how to forgive others. If someone wrongs us seven times a day, we must forgive them seven times. We know if we constantly forgive, God in His compassion for us will forgive us if we have a repentant heart.
Question of the Day: How will you stand up for those who have a small voice and need your strength to protect them?
Prayer: "Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way." —Psalm 139