Mt 5:20-26 God’s Way or The World’s
If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
It was very late at night. I was spending the night at a friend’s lake house out in Mabank, Texas. While I was saying my night prayers I noticed the hands of a clock suddenly moving rapidly. I looked around to see if anyone else noticed. They were all concentrating in their prayers. Then I realized that the clock, handing on the wall, is an atomic clock. It was re-calibrating itself. Linked to a satellite it was adjusting itself to the exact time by means of a “universal” standard. I got to thinking. Christ is the standard, the universal standard, in which all life is measured. We need to be in sync with Him.
The Lord has set the standard for all of his children and we know we need to periodically adjust, calibrate, re-calibrate ourselves to His Will, His Way, His watch! Lent is a time for reflection so that we can function properly – for the purpose we were given.
Even better, Lent is for us the time to be true to our Maker.
Sin leaves us empty, broken, wasted; feeling abused and used and utterly worthless. “Turn back to me”, says the Lord. He invites us to turn back and reconcile with your brother and yourself before doing anything else. You cannot move forward if broken; otherwise the pain will only get worse.
Now is the time. Now is an acceptable time for our salvation.
What does it mean to surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees? It means to recognize my own sins! The righteous will always be good at pointing fingers at others but never at themselves. If the Lord is to create a new heart, a new spirit in us, then we will have to get rid of the old to make room for the new. Confessing our sins leaves room for a new heart, a new life!
Before asking someone on a date, going on a date, going on the Internet, reading a novel, going on Spring Break, departing on a trip; before writing a response to an e-mail, text messaging, or leaving a message on Facebook or Twitter; before all other things let us turn to the One who is in all things!
Do I need to settle with the Lord my thoughts, my intentions and my actions? Do so NOW before judgment. Catholics have Lent. Protestants have the constant twenty year cycle of predicting the end of the world. New date: 2012!
The Lord invites us to come to Him with open arms, bent knees and broken hearts. The Lord invites us to come to him as our Savior rather than as our Judge. Better to go to the Lord as our Savior and King than as our Judge and Ruler.
The Lord invites us to forgive and be forgiven; to love and be loved. He calls me from afar, from within, from above. I can heed the call or else, prepare for a long drawn out battle with the devil of intrigue, suspicion, jealousies and falsehoods. I will not win! I will surely die.
Whatever happened to the Pharisees? Why did they turn so nasty? How did they get to that place in their lives were they could no longer love or recognize goodness and purity? How did they get so cynical, judgmental and vicious? Believe me when I tell you: all these things are near to us! All these things that I hate in others are near to me! Their problem can easily be mine too: Refusing Christ!
The Lord highlighted, in every word and gesture, what was wrong with the World. Lent is a reminder that He has my name highlighted too!
Let us ask the Lord with all our hearts to keep us from falling again into sin; to deny ourselves today and not to deny those in need; to receive this day of penance as a gift and give it back through works of mercy; to master our rebellious hearts and teach generosity. We ask this in His name. Amen! (Liturgy of the Hours)