Monday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Recently I met a young man, a student from a Catholic college, who told me he hadn’t been to confession in more than a year. “Why not?” I asked him. His answer: the priests didn’t encourage confession; what used to be confessionals in the college chapel were never used. Over simplistic maybe, but does the answer help us appreciate Jesus’ harsh words about the religious leaders, the Pharisees, in today’s Gospel?

Specialists in religion, some priests have become like the absolute owners of what they have received in trust, refusing to share it with others. What a contrast with God who gives gratuitously to all. Jesus preaches that the attitude of the Pharisees, “the blind guides”, is not only against charity; it is also against justice.

I told the student that to be a true follower of Jesus each one must be completely honest with himself in following the demands that Jesus makes throughout the whole Gospel. Bottom line: (1) You should get to confession frequently, not excusing yourself with flimsy alibis; (2) You should pray for us priests who meet the description Jesus gives of the Pharisees in today’s Gospel and (3) did you ever think of becoming a priest yourself? “No? Well, pray that you may know and do God’s will, and pray for vocations to the priesthood and for the sanctification of all priests, especially those at your Catholic college.”

August 25th, 2014