The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Date: 
Tue, 08/01/2017
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

The word for today is “usurp”.
To usurp is to seize, so take something, possess it by force; to make use of it without right. 
To usurp is to seize or exercise authority or possession wrongfully.
Any Christian who would take it upon him/herself
to remove the weeds from the field of wheat before harvest time
is guilty of usurpation.
Any Christian who engages in the practice of judging and condemning the sinner
is a usurper.
Only God has the authority and the power to judge whether a person is wheat or weed.
God determines who is saved and who is condemned.
We have no right to make such a determination.
 
Then why, why do we habitually judge others.
This is one of the most frequently confessed sins.
This human tendency is so prevalent
that Jesus found it necessary to use a parable to teach against such a practice,
against self-righteousness.
 
What motivates us to engage in this activity?
What is it within the human heart that quickly latches onto the sins of others
and proceeds to denounce the person, remonstrate, incriminate him/her?
What do we gain by judging and condemning a sinner?
Why do we feel compelled to do this?
 
Are we comparing ourselves with the sinner?
Does this make us feel morally superior?
It is out of meanness?
Do we take pleasure in thinking about the punishment of others?
Are we looking for others to blame?
Are we shifting the focus of sin off of ourselves and onto others?
Is it a defense mechanism to protect or fragile ego?
Does it give us a sense of power and control?
Is it a form of narcissism?
Does it indicate the presence of pride in our hearts?
Does this habit have anything to do with self-glorification?
 
Why do we usurp the power and authority that belongs solely to God?
Do we think we are helping God when we do this?
Have we embraced this practice as part of our Christian purpose?
Isn’t it our task to weed the garden, so to speak?
Why do we think God needs our help in recognizing and dispatching the sinner?
Do we think God enjoys condemning the sinner according to strict justice?
 
I know.  Lots of questions for which I have no answers.
But few of us get through life completely free from self-righteousness.
If we were really interested in the good of our sinful neighbor
we would instead ask ourselves “what can I do to atone for the sin of this person?
What can I do to contribute to the process of their conversion?”
 
Our prayer today:  “O Lord, renew my desire to embrace the virtues of patience, tolerance and forbearance when it comes to encountering the sins of others.  Through the words of Your Son Jesus Christ continue to reform my mind and heart that I might recognize my own need for Your loving mercy.  Amen!”