Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
Jesus continues to condemn the Pharisees in today’s Gospel. The basis of this harsh condemnation is that Pharisaism is radically opposed to the Gospel. It is essentially anti-Christian. It prevents one from being attentive to the other. It refuses to hear the other. Conversation, dialogue are impossible. And dialogue is essential in Christianity.
St. Paul shows us in the first reading how God initiates the dialogue. First we were created by God. He created human life in us. Our response was sin. But God began the dialogue anew. In the Old Testament God’s “justice” that is his holiness, his glory dwelt within the Temple and when the time was ripe it became in-fleshed in Christ. Then Christ, through the shedding of his blood, offered and continues to offer us pardon from sin. That is redemption. As sinners, we are saved through faith in Christ, which an infinitely higher degree of communication on God’s part. It offers us his Spirit, super-natural life. And our “works” that is, our indispensable Spirit-filled part in the dialogue, round out our lives on earth. Well, not all together, because as members of Christ’s body, our vocation is to be co-redeemers, co-laborers in God’s divine plan. That is why dialogue and communication with others is so essential, and why Pharisaism is so anti-Christian.