Monday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time
Yesterday at Mass we heard proclaimed that the gate is opened, but it will not be so forever. Christ, the Good Shepherd, calls us to the gate so that when the time comes—of which we know neither the day nor the hour—we are not locked out. The task of His pastors, then, is to make sure not a single lamb is left behind. Yet this is precisely what the scribes and Pharisees are being accused of today: they have, by their hypocrisy, prevented themselves and others from encountering Christ.
As we begin a three-day litany of woes against the scribes and Pharisees we might take to our own prayerful reflection how it is that we are living our Christian lives. Pope Francis—current successor of the one whom Christ charged with feeding and tending His lambs (Jn. 21:15-17)—recently challenged millions of youth gathered in Brazil to “go and make disciples of all nations”; most of us are familiar with the saying often attributed to St. Francis regarding the use of words only “when necessary.” The very manner in which we live out our Christian life can make-or-break the encounter another soul has with Christ; the key of our example can lock or unlock that gate for someone else.
How many people have we encountered who have left the Church or reject it because of a Christian they encountered who hurt, offended, misled or otherwise scandalized them? Likewise, how often do we meet converts who were inspired by the example of another Christian? In our journey to Christ’s Kingdom let us not move forward as blind guides, oblivious to those around us, causing others to lose sight of that which is more precious than gold: Jesus Christ and the eternal life He offers to those who love Him.