"Pride of life"Sunday Mass Readings Podcast of Readings Video Reflections Lecturas y Comentarios Sunday Readings Bible StudyPrayer of the HoursBurning Question: Do you invite the poor to your banquet?
Sunday Readings for Aug. 29, 2010 (22C)
By Father Cusick
Jesus ate with the Pharisees as he did with all sinners. Though their faults may not have been publicly known as were those of the tax collectors, prostitutes, drunkards and Samaritans from whom Jesus did not hold himself aloof, these religious leaders were guilty of a perhaps greater sin: "pharisaical scandal", imputing evil to a good act.
Being habituated to denying their hypocrisy, the religious leaders were offended by Jesus' evident love for public sinners. Puffed up with pride, they were angered at being classed with prostitutes and tax collectors. Jesus told them they were as "whited sepulchers, full of dead mens bones". They performed religious acts for people to see and dressed in magnificent robes and costly vestments, yet when Christ looked into their hearts he saw the corruption of sin. They were indeed sinners, as are all the offspring of Adam. Jesus told them so out of divine love. The Pharisees' pride blinded them to the truth which would open their hearts to salvation.
"Pride of life" is as grave a sin as those of the flesh or of avarice. All are classed as forms of concupiscence."St. John distinguishes three kinds of covetousness or concupiscence: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. In the Catholic catechetical tradition, the ninth commandment forbids carnal concupiscence; the tenth forbids coveting another's goods."
Rabbis were forbidden to speak to certain individuals such as prostitutes lest they be suspected of soliciting sinful acts. Ritual uncleanness also resulted. Jesus, as a rabbi, was expected to abide by such restrictions. When he reached out to sinners with divine compassion by speaking with them and forgiving their sins, the Pharisees and other authorities used these good actions against him, condemning Jesus in order to place a stumbling stone between the Savior and sinners."Jesus scandalized the Pharisees by eating with tax collectors and sinners as familiarly as themselves.
(Cf. Lk 5:30; 7:36; 11:37; 14:1.) Against those among them who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others, Jesus affirmed: 'I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
' (Lk 18:9;5:32;cf. Jn 7:49;9:34.) He went further by proclaiming before the Pharisees that, since sin is universal, those who pretend not to need salvation are blind to themselves.
(Cf. Jn 8:33-36; 9:40-41.)" (CCC 588)
Those who are self righteous, who refuse to acknowledge that they depend upon God for all that is good, close themselves off to God's grace and redemption, for only by honest repentance for sins is one humbled before God who saves. Scandal taken at another's words or actions, were there is no sin, is itself sinful and betrays a deadly blindness to one's own sin. As St. John teaches, "anyone who says he is without sin is a liar." Scandal in a genuine sense, however, must be avoided.
"Scandal will come, but woe to those by whom it comes," Jesus said. When someone is who is weak in faith is led into sin by the words or actions of another, genuine scandal occurs. CatholicsChristians scandalize others by claiming to be Christian while, for example, profaning the Lord's Day, a grave obligation, by omitting to attend Mass for a less than grave reason."Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense."
It is the sin of scandal of the weak which is most strongly condemned by Christ.
"Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: 'Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.'
(Mt 18:6; cf. 1 Cor 8:10-13.) Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing.
(Cf. Mt 7:15.)" (CCC 2285)
Media which glamourizes evil or laws which declare legal something which is intrinsically evil and an abominable crime such as procured abortion, are sources of scandal, leading others into sin."Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion. Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to 'social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.'
(Pius XII, Discourse, June 1, 1941) This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger (Cf. Eph 6:4; Col 3:21), or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values." (CCC 2286 )"Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. 'Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!'
(Lk 17:1)" (CCC 2287)