DAILY REFLECTIONS 26th WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME 2021

Sunday 26th September  –  26th Sunday in Ordinary Time 
Introduction

On this 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time Jesus encourages us, indeed Jesus warns us, to do all we can to avoid sin. It should have no place in our lives.

We all struggle, but we can also trust in a loving God o shows his power by being merciful.

We can trust ourselves to God and begin by asking for God’s mercy and forgiveness in our own lives

Sermon

I will always remember when I bought a new car about 5 years ago. Mum and Claire came with me to pick it up. When I was driving away for the first time, I had both hands on the steering wheel and was sat upright driving very carefully.

After a few weeks of driving around, with the dog in and out of the car, the brand new shine of the car started fading and so too did my driving skills. There seems to be a correlation between how clean my car is and how good my driving is.

At the moment my car is filthy due to walking Lily in all sorts of weather, so it needs a good clean. But again, at the moment when I am driving round, it is mainly with one hand on the steering wheel and one hand on the gears and I seem to be driving very casually. I hope there are no police watching this  –  once it is cleaned, I will drive better again.

When the car is clean and tidy, I make every effort to keep it that way and I’m very careful. This got me thinking, because it can be the same in our lives too, especially our lives of faith.

We all try to be good, do the right thing and as it were, keep our souls clean. But once we are aware of sin and what we have done wrong in our lives, sadly, we can almost become used to it and almost stop caring, or at least, not try as much as we should, thinking what does it matter now anyway?

But today’s Gospel makes it very clear that it does matter, sin matters a great deal. Jesus makes it very clear that we should never take sin for granted.

Indeed, God takes sin so seriously that it meant that Jesus had to give his life on the Cross so that our sins could be forgiven. And today, Jesus warns us in very stark terms, that we should do everything we can to avoid sin.

The reason for this is very simple  –  sin has no place in God, it has no place in Heaven and therefore, sin should have no place in our lives. This may seem very daunting  –  how many of us dare to say we have not sinned, we all have. But as long as we keep trying, keep concentrating, we can trust in the loving mercy and forgiveness of God.

We are made in the image of God. God made us perfect and we are called to be perfect. That perfection is still there within us, but it needs us to try and importantly, to rely upon the grace and mercy of God in our lives. That is the true way to perfection, by trusting ourselves to the loving mercy of God. As our Opening Prayer of today’s Mass said, God shows His almighty power above all by pardoning and showing mercy.

Perfection is not for those who just want to look perfect or be seen to be perfect  –  rather it is for those who know they are sinners, but know they are loved and redeemed by God,

Perfection is not for those who try to keep away from others, as if they are better than them  –  rather it is for those who are willing to try and live the Christian life in the midst of this secular world. Taking risks to bring Christ into the world.

Perfection is not for those who are only concerned about their own sanctity  –  rather it is for those who love; those who put love of God and love of our neighbour above all other things.

A few weeks ago I was in Oxford and was having a tour around the city. We got the Merton College which was founded in 1264. When the college was being built, on the outer wall they carved images of the seven deadly sins. This may seem a strange thing to carve. But they were placed where they are very carefully. The seven deadly sins were carved in a place which never gets any sunlight, at any time of day or at any time of the year. This is a reminder to all who pass by, to never allow sin, any sin, the light of day,

It is the same for us, may we never take sin for granted, never give sin the light of day  –  it is in this way, we find the perfection in which we were made in God’s image.