Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

People sometimes complain that despite a strong prayer life and mortifications they do not seem to make progress in the spiritual life. Maybe the Pharisees can help us out. The Pharisees! Why was Jesus so harsh on them? They were pious people who kept all the laws, prayed, fasted, did penance; yet their piety, their “yeast” prevented them from being open, forgiving, making progress in matters spiritual.

You have met many like them. They thrive in families where, because of supposed unjust financial settlements or long forgotten words spoken, alienation has taken place. Wounds are not healed. The guilty parties cannot be forgiven.

Some families of religious are like that too. Once a thriving group their charism been extinguished by smug reformers. Forgiveness is impossible. The Pharisees would understand.

Jesus excoriated the Pharisees calling them hypocrites. That is reality. But as he was dying Jesus also prayed, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do.” And that is part of reality too. If we can’t forgive, we should pray for the grace to do so and wait. That’s a sure bet for progress in the spiritual life.

February 17th, 2014