Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Are you influenced by the media, which threatens your Catholic faith? - Daily Reflections August 25,2015

As a teenager, I had some problems with Chapter 23 of Matthew’s Gospel. Today and tomorrow, our readings will come from this chapter. I called it the “most un-Christian chapter in the New Testament.” Why?
       Because I could not imagine how Jesus could use such harsh words. Didn’t Jesus teach that we have to love even our enemies? And now He uses harsh words and lambasts the Pharisees?
       When I studied Scriptures, I received new insights into this chapter. First, I learned that the very strong word “hypocrite” originally meant “stage actor,” and so doesn’t have the sting as it has when we use it today. Secondly, did Jesus really say everything we read in this chapter, or was it Matthew who put these condemnations on Jesus’ lips?
       Matthew wrote this Gospel for a Jewish-Christian community which was threatened by rabbis from the sect of the Pharisees to abandon their belief in Christ and return to the fold of the Law of Moses. Could it be, as in other cases, that the evangelist thought: “If Jesus were here, what would He say? Would He not use the strongest words possible to paint the threatening Pharisees in the darkest colors possible and encourage the Jewish-Christians not to listen to them and remain faithful to Him?”
       Nevertheless, whatever the reason behind Jesus’ strong words, we accept it as part of the Word of God that has an impact on our lives.
       Through the media, we are exposed to anti-Christian propaganda. On TV, we are told how wrong our Catholic faith and practice is. We are told that we don’t do what the Bible says. We are told that with our statues we are idolaters. Since they confuse God’s beloved flock, maybe He would use words similar to those in Chapter 23. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you influenced by the media, which threatens your Catholic faith?
Lord, as in the time of Matthew, there are many forces that threaten my faith today. Help me to remain faithful and to separate always the “weeds” from the “wheat.”

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