Many times in the Gospels this week Jesus calls out the Pharisees and scholars. He minces no words in pointing out the obvious disconnect between how they see themselves and what motivates them. Jesus describes their inner states; “you are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk” (Luke 11:44) . . . and their outer states; ”you impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”(Luke 11:46) I have thought about the woes Jesus might be saying to me, have you?
Paul succinctly in the first reading on Tuesday prescribes the antidote to the Pharisees behavior by stating “but only faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6) can the outside behaviors and the inside motivators keep us aligned with Jesus.
There are many who exemplify their faith through actions of love. Isn’t this where continued growth needs to take place? “Today God loves the world through you and me. . . God proves that Christ loves us that he has come to be his Father’s compassion” wrote Mother Teresa. Is this not part of Pope Francis message when declaring in this Jubilee Year of Mercy that we must “Be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) We continually are called to “presence” Christ in our lives and the way we live them. When our lives are in harmony with the merciful, compassionate Jesus, the likelihood of being called out with “woe to you” is replaced by “Come all you blessed ones.”
The solemnity of Christ the King on November 20 formally closes out the Year of Mercy. Doesn’t it seem way too soon for the year of mercy to end? With all that is occurring in our country and throughout the world would it not be helpful to extend the Year of Mercy for another year or a decade, better yet forever?
Sr. Aileen Bankemper, OSB