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Practicing What We Preach

Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things. We know that the judgment of God on those who do such things is true. Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? (Rm 2:1-3)

Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others. Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.” Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.” And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them. (Lk 11:42-46)

The readings from today’s Mass are very powerful, but can easily be misinterpreted. Both St. Paul and Jesus are admonishing their listeners to not only teach the law, but to obey it as well. Nowhere in these readings does it say that we should not criticize immoral behavior. Many times people use the Bible to incorrectly make an argument that it is wrong to condemn things that are sinful. Using that flawed logic, we are told that it is “judgmental” to point out that homosexuality, premarital sex, embryonic stem cell research, abortion, artificial birth control and drunkenness are sinful…but they are and we shouldn’t be afraid to say it! We must use prudence and charity, but we have an obligation to speak the truth. If we don’t, many souls could be in jeopardy.

As Catholics, we are blessed to have an unchanging body of teaching that has been passed down from Our Lord to the apostles and their successors. Today’s readings point out that while we should lovingly share these Church teachings with our brothers and sisters, we MUST practice what we preach.

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