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The Fault Lies in Us

September 15, 2020
September 16, 2020
PITIK-BULAG: The Fault Lies in Us
Everybody knows no one is perfect. We have sinned against God and have severed our relationship with Him. We all know we need to repent in order to find true joy and inner peace in our hearts. Yet, many of us have chosen to close our hearts from God’s invitation to repent from our sins, fix our lives, and experience fulness of life in the Spirit. Thus, instead of taking the difficult path to righteousness, we refuse to repent from our sins and wicked ways. Even to the point of persecuting those who are doing the right things.
This is basically the complaint of Jesus against the crowd in our gospel. With all His miracles and teachings and John’s call to repent, the people remained unmoved and unrepented. In the process of closing their eyes to Jesus’ good news, they missed the moment of grace. They missed their chance to experience God’s presence in their midst.
But why such hardened hearts? Why did they refuse to accept the invitation to believe in the gospel? How come they see John and Jesus as enemies, even to the point of calling them as “demon” and “glutton” respectively (Luke 7: 33-34).
Like the crowd in our gospel reading, we are also guilty of this sin. A part of us still refuses to repent, let go of our inordinate attachments and amend our lives. Thus, we remain in our selfishness, pride, and self-righteousness. Have you ever asked yourself? Why keeps you from surrendering everything to the Lord? In the process, we failed to receive God’s offering of inner joy, freedom, and peace.
Here are some possible reasons for our refusal to repent or surrender everything to Jesus. The main culprit is fear – fear of losing our old self and inordinate attachments to things, old habits, wrong beliefs and values, and present status.
1. FEAR OF EMBARRASSMENT. We don’t want to lose face or be humiliated in front of everyone. Accepting our faults and mistakes is not easy for us. It takes a lot of courage and strength to say, “I am wrong. He is right.” Remember the parable of the prodigal son? (Luke 15: 11-32).
2. FEAR OF CONSEQUENCE. We are afraid of the consequence of accepting our faults. We are afraid of punishment and the possibility of losing our authority, self-respect, and public status. We don’t want to be insulted and judged by others. Yet, we failed to think of the positive consequence of our decision to repent and believe in Jesus. Remember King Herod? (Matthew 14)
3. FEAR OF EXERTING EFFORT. It is not easy to follow Jesus. It could mean surrendering everything to HIm including all our treasure, time and talent. It may mean also surrendering our own will to HIm. Remember the rich young man in the gospel? (Mark 10:17-31).
4. FEAR OF SHATTERED SELF-IMAGE. We don’t want to lose the self-image we have created and loved for years. Losing our self-image may mean losing our self-respect. Remember the Nicodemus? (John 3).
5. FEAR OF NEW BEHAVIOR. We are afraid of learning new values and beliefs, a new way of thinking in our decision making. We are not comfortable with doing something new or acting in a new way. Yet, we are invited to unlearn the old and learn new tricks for a better life. Remember Zacchaeus? (Luke 19: 1-10).
6. FEAR OF LOSING OUR INORDINATE ATTACHMENTS. In the final analysis, our refusal to repent and follow Jesus is deeply rooted in our failure to surrender our attachments to things, values, feelings, and people. Remember the story of Bartimaeus? (Mark 10: 46-52).
The antidote to fear is love. This is what Paul is proposing in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 12:31 – 13:13). Love drives away all our fears and makes it easy for us to repent.
– Fr. Wilfredo M. Samson, SJ
September 16, 2020 – Wednesday
Gospel Reading: Luke 7: 31-35

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