Monday, May 22, 2017

Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter - Condemnation and Righteousness

Jesus said to his disciples: "But now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ´Where are you going?´ But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation: sin, because they do not believe in me; righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you because you have made yourself known to me. I desire to know you more each day. Let my knowledge of you be simple, real and personal. I hope in your grace because I am aware of my inclination to evil and I know my weakness. As an expression of my love for you, I want to live as you would have me live. I want to please you by my every action.

Petition: Lord, increase my faith.

1. Convict the World in Regard to Sin
Why does Christ come to convict the world in regard to sin? Didn’t he come, “(not) to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3: 17)? Which is it, condemnation or liberation? It’s both. If you are not aware that you’re sick, you will not go to the doctor. First we have to be aware that we are sinful, so that we experience the need for a savior in the first place. The greatest danger in today’s society isn’t that it’s sinful: Sin has been here since Adam and Eve. The greatest danger is no longer recognizing sin at all because of moral relativism (cf. John Paul II, The Splendor of Truth, 32). “This is fine for me; I make my own rules,” goes the battle cry of the relativist. Therefore, the Spirit must first make us aware that we are selfish, sinful and in need of a savior. Then the work of conversion can begin.

2. Convicted of … Sin Because They Do Not Believe in Me
Is Christ saying that every non-believer is a sinner and not worthy of salvation? This seems to be confirmed in John 3:18a: “Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already.” The Church teaches that those people, who through no fault of their own know neither Christ nor his Church, may be saved by following the dictates of their conscience (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 847). This said, there is also the danger of a will to unbelief: “For this people´s heart has grown dull…and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes…and understand with their heart and turn -- and I would heal them” (Matthew 13:15). Seeing, some chose not to believe because it would mean changing. It is this conscientious rejection of the truth out of obstinacy that must be avoided at all costs.

3. Righteousness
Christ’s resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit are proof of Christ’s righteousness and authenticity. He is what he claimed to be: the Messiah, the Son of the living God (cf. Matthew 16:16-17). It is also righteous or just that Christ, having completed his mission, returns to the Father. Yet Christ’s righteousness is also being offered to us if we but accept it. His mission was to condemn Satan, the Father of lies, and remake us in his image and likeness. Through his sacrifice we become much more than freed slaves: We become adopted children of God (cf. John 1:12).

Conversation with Christ: Lord, aware of the importance of faith, I ask you to increase my faith. You continuously offer me so many graces, let me take advantage of all of them and use them according to your will.

Resolution: During my conscience examen today I will recognize my faults with honesty, but also express a greater confidence in God’s mercy in my life.

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