It seems the Sunday gospel contains all kinds of sins, and gives the feeling of tiredness after listening to such a list.

What if we, instead, change the vices for virtues and we read:

–          Think always well, have good purposes in life;

–          Practice chastity;

–          Give back to others what is theirs, especially their dignity;

–       Promote life in all aspects and stages: not yet born, elderly, persons with incapacities

–   Render respect to all, especially to those who are committed in life, and be loyal to your commitment as well;

–          Be happy with what you have for the daily needs, we do not need ‘extras’

–          Foster justice especially with the poor;

–          Honesty is the best policy;

–          Discipline yourself in thoughts, words and actions;

–          Appreciate the good of others; you are gifted to give as well;

–          Save the fame and reputation of everyone;

–          Practice to be the last…, ‘the broom of the house’;

–        Be decorous with your body because you are temple of the Holy Spirit and tabernacle of Jesus

Maybe people could be more encouraged to live their Christian commitment; the same would be with the Ten Commandments, if we put them into positive statements, but, by then, the law was about prohibitions: don’t, don’t, don’t…, and not about do, do, do…

For Fr. Toribio Tapia, specialist in Lectio Divina, from Mexico, says that ‘this list of vices attempts against fraternal love, against others. Purity is not caused by the not fulfilment of certain ritual laws, but by forgetting fraternity. Somebody is impure in front of God because harms the brothers and sisters. This is the new praxis of Jesus; it is his new teaching’. And he continues: ‘the gospel clarifies that a person is nearer to God (and in this sense is purer) in the measure that he / she build up fraternity -community-‘.

When the Pharisees and the scribes confronted Jesus with the question: “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” Jesus, calling them hypocrites, disclosed that the prophecy of Isaiah is for them: “This people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts”.  And Jesus added by himself: “You disregarded God’s commandment but cling to human tradition”.

For us, CMT, God’s commandment is the “Law of Grace ”: “When God created my heart, he breathed upon it, and his breath was a law which he imposed, and that law told me ‘Thou shalt love’. My heart was made by the hand of God to love and to be loved, and to live only through love…” (MR 22, 13) He added: “What does the law of grace say? ‘Though shalt God for what He is, infinite goodness, and your neighbour as yourself” (MR 22, 18).

Today’s gospel invites us to live for others, making good to others. Palau insists and tells us different ways to serve the Church; he puts in her mouth the teaching: “In the midst of the peoples I am your daughter…, and I weep with those who weep and suffer with those who suffer; here you are my father, my doctor, my consolation and my joy; here your word is the bread of my life, and whatever you do to my sick members you do to me and I am grateful for you for it; and because you give me consolation in sorrow and affliction, on this mountain I will give you a thousand fold”. (MR 9, 5).

Pope Francis, in his encyclical letter Fratelli Tutti invites us to do the same that the good Samaritan: a nobody (estranger, foreigner) met a nobody (poor Jew, abandoned and wounded beside the road) (FT 101) and cares: he was moved in compassion, got nearer, bent down, cured, carried, brought to the inn, remained, paid in advanced and promised to come back to pay the extra expenses (FT II).

Do I care?  Do you care?  Do we care?


Our Lady of Virtues Community

Pangantucan, Bukidnon