Summary: We must be converted daily to the following of Christ, and be sensitive to the signs others demonstrate that they are ready to hear the message and be healed by Christ.

Monday of 21st Week in Course

August 23, 2010

Today’s Gospel verses betray the Hebrew original of Matthew–one after another, Hebrew words come tumbling from Jesus’s lips: oi, as in oi vay–woe in English, peroushim, the separate ones we call Pharisees, ben Hinnom, which is translated here “child of hell,” but really means son of the garbage dump. The Pharisees were apparently eager to make people like them, but instead of leading them closer to the divine image, it took them further away. The call of God is to love and mercy, not condemnation of others. People will come to the Church, come to Christ, if, in Tertullian’s words, they see how we love one another, and how we love God.

Just as people sought out the Apostles and asked to see Jesus, they will come to us because they want to see Jesus. But that first means that they must see something of Jesus in our daily behavior and our worship. Nemo dat quod non habet–nobody gives what he does not have. We need always to pray for the “grace of a new, deepened, life-changing conversion. Conversion is not something that happens only once in our lives. Every day, we have to make a new effort to turn our hearts once more to the Lord” who has first turned His heart to us, and shed His precious blood for our salvation.

The Archbishop tells us that in his years of pastoral ministry, the lay people he worked with helped him “to appreciate two things. First, that evangelization flows from our love for Christ.” What we proclaim we must first feel in our hearts. “Second, that proclaiming Christ is more than handing on a set of doctrines or a philosophy of life.” That’s what the Pharisees thought evangelization was. Rather, “proclaiming Christ means bringing men and women into a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. . .it means telling people who Christ is, what he teaches, and how we can come to know him better in our lives.”

I know there is no magic formula to that. Maybe standing up in Travis Park and preaching did the job years ago. It won’t do today. We need to pray that Christ will send us open hearts, and be listening to others when they give us a sign that they are hungry for the living, healing hand of Christ.

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