FRIDAY OF THE TWENTY-EIGHTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Brothers and sisters:
What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now to one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift but as his due. And to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. So also David pronounces a blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not reckon his sin.”
Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 11
Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.
Meanwhile, when the crowd gathered by the thousands, so that they trampled on one another, he began to speak first to his disciples, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops.
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
The yeast in bread is a living thing that mixes and grows, transforming dough and causing it to rise. You can't see the yeast but you know it is there when it changes the bread. The Pharisees' yeast, according to the Lord, was hypocrisy. The Pharisees appeared to live a moral life and teach the moral life, a life of divine law, but their behavior was not consistent with what they represented. They, the religious leaders, were infiltrating the temple and spreading their doctrine in a way that was insidious and contagious enough that the Lord had to warn his disciples about it.
Whatever we believe in our hearts is going to be seen eventually. Our hearts may not be perfect but the one thing that we can do when we sin is to uncover our fault and reveal it, bringing it to God in repentance.
When pressure is on, as when people are threatened with violence, is my faith something that I believe will see me through? Could I see myself dying for my moral values and religious beliefs?
Do I speak to gain approval from others or to have control over them? Am I aware that God can see my heart and knows my motivation?
Today, we ask for the light of Christ to penetrate our hearts and minds so that we can know our sins and confess them, not found wanting of integrity but led whole-heartedly by the Spirit of God.