XXX Ordinary Sunday
My God, have mercy on me, for I am a sinner
Hatred, contempt, incomprehension before those who are different, cataloguing people making value judgments, self-referentiality and above all the fear of seeing what is not right in my life, are the realities that hide behind the affirmation that today the Gospel puts on the lips of the Pharisee:
"O God, I thank you, because I am not like others: thieves, unjust, adulterers; Nor like that publican. I fast twice a week and pay tithing on everything I have."
But whom does the Pharisee intend to deceive? Elsewhere in Scripture the Pharisees are described as incoherent and scrupulous. Could it be that he is the only one who has not realized his reality? How much it is necessary for this character to give himself the opportunity to internalize himself, so that with objectivity he can evaluate his life, and to be able to discover an endless list of virtues that he possesses, but in the same way to be able to contemplate what today we so tenderly call 'areas of opportunity' that are nothing other than what is wrong in our life and we must change.
This scene reminds me very much of a phrase often repeated by some Christians: 'I do not steal, I do not kill, I do no harm to anyone', What sin can I have? And this is nothing more than evading a serene and sensible evaluation of our reality, a pretext for not changing and surpassing ourselves. It is not strange because to enunciate clearly and precisely the negative realities and above all assume responsibility for the acts, it is not easy, since ancient times we have a report of this attitude, in chapter 150 of the Book of the Dead, one of the most popular works of Ancient Egypt is the so-called 'negative confession', Because the deceased was reciting a series of evil deeds that he had not committed. Something similar is also found in some Psalms. (cf. 26(25),4-5): I do not sit with false people, I do not go with clandestine people; I hate the gang of evildoers, with the wicked I do not feel.
A saint once said, 'To sin by name.' Also today psychology has taught us that to overcome a problem we must first recognize it. In this line I invite you to read this Sunday's Gospel passage.
Sacramental pedagogy has taught us that, in order to obtain forgiveness, in order to start a new life, the only thing that is required is to accept, to enunciate our fault, not to hurt ourselves but to discover where we stand and thus be able to take the next step to a new stage. This is the joy of the Gospel, the invitation to know who we are, but above all to know that with Jesus Christ he is always born and reborn to a new life and this fills the heart. The publican, accepting his reality, can make decisions to change, and so it was justified, but whoever thinks that everything is fine, who wastes time judging others, who is a slave to self-referentiality, will never be able to experience God's love and the invitation to change. You can never feel Jesus' invitation to new life.
Dear brothers, in the light of this Sunday's Gospel, I would like to invite you to a profound examination of conscience, which allows us to value the richness of our hearts, but also with humility and profound honesty to enunciate those things that are not right and that we must begin to change. God already knows this, and perhaps so do we, but now it is necessary to assume the commitment of change. Take the next step, whoever wants to live with dignity and fullness has no other way but to recognize their reality and dare to walk with the one who knows me and invites me to grow. We should not be surprised then by some expressions of St Paul: "The love of Christ urges us" (cf. 2 Cor 5:14). Let us not delay the invitation to continue growing. Amen.
+Faustino Armendáriz Jiménez
OMCC Ecclesiastical Advisor