Readings: Rom 3:21-30; Ps 129:1-6; Lk 11:47-54
Those of us who know some Scripture tend to think of ourselves, perhaps unconsciously, as superior to those who seem to know less. Or, much like the Pharisees, we feel we are closer to God because we pray, fast, and frequent the sacraments. But are such attitudes justified? On this subject the readings of today are unequivocal: No!
Whether religious or lay, learned or unlearned, we are equally sinners (Focus). Justification is only through faith in Jesus. He alone, the sinless one who paid the price for our sins by his blood, is able to justify and save us. He alone has the right to judge if we are righteous or not. The Gospel gives us one of the many instances when Jesus condemned the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the lawyers, even at the cost of danger to his own life.
If I believe in what Jesus did for me, I can best respond by loving him and showing it by works of love: helping a neighbour, giving a lift to someone in need, visiting a sick person, consoling the grief-stricken, sponsoring a needy student, treating my staff considerately, and avoiding sin at all cost. Not an easy task, but made possible by grace.