Reflection for Sunday, September 28, 2014
By Dave O’Donnell
The first reading this coming Sunday tells us that man’s and God’s ways are not the same and that sin has consequences that can be ameliorated by correcting ones errors. God does not punish sin, but I must take personal responsibility and change my ways to be freed from sins’ consequences.
In Sunday’s Gospel selection, Jesus is talking to the chief priest and elders saying: “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did.” (Mt 21: 31 – 32)
Jesus tells us: “The Kingdom of God is within.” The way of righteousness is a path to the kingdom of God within. It requires only the personal responsibility of acceptance with peace and love to follow.
I’ve read (I think it was the Jesuit scripture scholar, John McKenzie) that the word kingdom is more precisely translated as reign. When I say the reign of God is within, it speaks more powerfully to me than if I say the kingdom…. When I reject the reign of God who is it who takes the helm? Paul says it is the flesh. I understand Paul to mean it is my ego. Neither the flesh nor the ego is bad, but they are prone to excesses. It is the ways of the flesh and the ego that provide the consequences of sin. It is important for me to know that God does not punish sin.
We are a community of laymen and laywomen who, with vowed Passionists, seek to share in the charism of St. Paul of the Cross through prayer, ongoing spiritual formation, and proclamation of the message of Christ Crucified.