we have a decision to make

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Matthew Kelly

We live in a time where people are more and more obsessed with how they look, and how they’re perceived, and what their reputation is. Of course, it’s easy for us to talk about our reputation as Christians, as the Church, but all of that is a collection of reputations, right? It’s a collection of your reputation, and my reputation, and the person next to you in church on Sunday, the person in front of you and behind you.

And so we always have to bring it back, and and localize it, and personalize it, and ask ourselves, “Okay, what is my reputation as a Christian? Do I have a reputation of reaching out beyond my own needs, beyond my own mess, beyond my own humanity, and helping other people deal with the deeply personal struggles of their own humanity?”


Different people cross our paths at different times, and in those moments, you and I . . . we have a decision to make. And the decision is, are we going to get involved in that person’s mess, or are we going to look away from that person’s mess? Are we going to get involved and be part of that person’s problem, and part of the solution to that person’s problem, or are we going to avoid that person’s problem?

And of course, right there in that moment of decision is where we decide, are we going to create a Holy Moment, or are we going to avoid a Holy Moment? And it’s by creating those Holy Moments, one after another, it’s by reaching out to our neighbor, loving our neighbor powerfully, serving our neighbor powerfully, that we create those Holy Moments that are very attractive, and that do raise people’s curiosity about, “Okay, this person’s different. This person is loving me powerfully, is serving me powerfully. There’s nothing to gain for him or herself—where does that come from? There must be something more to it than what I know. There must be something more to Jesus and the Gospel than what I’ve learned in the past.”

And it leads them to give Jesus a second look, to give the Gospel a second look, and that’s how people come to rediscover Jesus in a new and fresh way.

Fifth Week of Lent
John 8:31-42
Friends, today in our Gospel Jesus confronts those Jewish leaders who want to kill him, telling them that they are hardened in their sin. He says, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.”

In our tradition, sin is a kind of nonbeing, an illusion, if you will. To live in sin is to live stubbornly in an unreal world. Our mind becomes confused and our will disoriented. This helps explain why the devil is often referred to as the father of lies.

Theologian Henri de Lubac gives voice to this conviction when he refers to sin as cette claudication mystérieuse, this mysterious limp. It is a deformation, a corruption.

All of us sinners have, to one degree or another, bought into the lie. At the heart of the lie—and we can see it in the Genesis account—is the deification of the ego. I become the center of the universe, I with my needs and my fears and my demands.

And when the puny “I” is the center of the cosmos, the tie that binds all things to one another is lost. The basic reality now becomes rivalry, competition, violence, and mistrust.

Reflect: Do you believe that you are a sinner and need a Savior to set things right? Why or why not?

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