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So in this article he was challenging himself to see if he had become complacent and comfortable with the gospel message and had forgotten that Jesus always calls us to go beyond; to go beyond what we are comfortable with. He asked himself if he has become too comfortable and settled for just living by the rules and feeling that they are what will save, when the entire gospel is about moving the law from our heads to our hearts. So he said that as a New Year’s resolution he was going to take one of the messages of today’s gospel to heart, and he was going to ask for forgiveness more.

In the gospel today Jesus said, “If you bring your gift to the altar and you remember your brother or sister has something against you, then leave your gift at the altar and go and be reconciled, then bring your gift to the altar.” So Dion made this his resolution; he said he was going to apologize more to people for being judgemental, patronizing, filled with gossip, critical, self-righteous, and not giving them enough of his time when they needed to be heard.  He was not just going to ask forgiveness from God, but from the people themselves.

There seems to be a great wisdom in what Dion is doing. All of these teachings of Jesus today are talking about how to live in peace in community; the family community, the parish community, the city community, the world community. And this central teaching today strikes right at the heart of what builds community. The very moment when we should be united, at the moment we offer ourselves and our gifts at the altar, Jesus is saying it is a phoney gesture, just living by the law, if we know that we have done something to hurt another and we havenot at least tried to be reconciled, we have not at least tried to ask forgiveness. It may not be accepted, but today in the gospel Jesus asks us to go beyond what we are comfortable with. 

We know this cannot be done by human effort alone. It is no use just using our will-power and saying, “I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it.” It is all grace, but grace that we have to ask for, and long for, and plead for. And then it is the grace of Christ living within us that acts through our simple and yet beautiful humanity. It is no longer “I” who acts, but “We” who act. Christ and I together.

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One Response to “Deacon Rob: Beware (or Be aware) of taking the gospel for granted”

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