4. Il gran male del peccato.
(7) – Il solo male che quaggiù possa veramente meritare questo nome è il peccato.
Il peccato è un abisso scavato tra l’uomo e Dio che pone un ostacolo al suo disegno di amore
per la salvezza dell’uomo. (cfr Is 59,2; Ger 2, 11ss)
Nella misura in cui servi il Signore sei libero, e schiavo nella misura in cui servi la legge del
peccato. Se andrai in senso opposto a colui che veramente è, camminerai verso ciò che non è.
Il peccato ti impedisce di raggiungere il fine per cui sei stato creato; ti toglie la vita e ti dà la
morte. Se ami il peccato, ami il pericolo della tua dannazione.
Considera quanto siano mortali le ferite del peccato se per curarle fu necessario il sangue di
un Dio. Non considerare il peccato come una semplice infrazione a una legge astratta, ma
come una rottura del tuo rapporto personale d’amore con Dio. Sei stolto se, perdendo la
grazia di Dio, non sai neppure ciò che hai perduto, e ti rallegri delle cose terrene che non
hanno alcun valore.
Quando commetti il peccato, dimentico dei beni ricevuti, ti estranei dalla casa del Padre.
Peccare è cosa umana, perseverare nel peccato è cosa diabolica. Dio perdona il peccato, ma
non può perdonare la volontà di peccare. Il peccato è il solo male che puoi guarire col
If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. Rom. 8:17
If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Gal. 3:29
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. I John 3:1
Thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Gal. 4:7
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. Eph. 1:5
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me. John 17:24
He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations. Rev. 2:26
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Rev. 3:21
Friday, July 3, 2020
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:24-25
It’s easy to be critical of St. Thomas for his lack of belief reflected in his statement above. But before you allow yourself to think poorly of him, think about how you would have responded. This is a difficult exercise to do since we know clearly the end of the story. We know Jesus did rise from the dead and that Thomas ultimately came to believe, crying out “My Lord and my God!” But try to put yourself in his situation.
First, Thomas probably doubted, in part, out of extreme sadness and despair. He had hoped that Jesus was the Messiah, he had dedicated the last three years of his life to following Him, and now Jesus was dead…so he thought. This is an important point because very often in life when we encounter some difficulty, disappointment or painful situation, our faith is tested. We are tempted to allow despair to draw us into doubt and when this happens we make decisions based more upon our hurt than upon our faith.
Second, Thomas was also called to deny the physical reality that he witnessed with his own eyes and believe something that was completely “impossible” from an earthly perspective. People simply do not rise from the dead! This simply doesn’t happen, at least from an earthly perspective alone. And even though Thomas had seen Jesus perform such miracles before, it took much faith to believe without seeing with his own eyes. So despair and an apparent impossibility went to the heart of Thomas’ faith and extinguished it.
Reflect, today, upon two lessons we can take from this passage: 1) Do not ever allow despair, disappointment or hurt to be the guide of your decisions or beliefs in life. They are never a good guide. 2) Do not doubt the power of God to be able to do anything and everything He chooses. In this case, God chose to rise from the dead and so He did. In our own lives, God can do anything He wills. We must believe that and know that what He reveals to us in faith will come to be if we but trust in His provident care.
Lord, I do believe. Help my unbelief. When I am tempted to give in to despair or to doubt Your almighty power over all things in life, help me to turn to You and to trust in You with all my heart. May I cry out, with St. Thomas, “My Lord and my God,” and may I do so even when I see only with the faith You put into my soul. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day – Saint Thomas the Apostle
Source of content: mycatholic.life
Daily Reading & Meditation
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. 10 And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Meditation: What is God’s call on your life? Jesus chose Matthew to be his follower and friend, not because Matthew was religious or learned, popular or saintly. Matthew appeared to be none of those. He chose to live a life of wealth and ease. His profession was probably the most corrupted and despised by everyone because tax collectors made themselves wealthy by over-charging and threatening people if they did not hand over their money to them.
God searches our heart
What did Jesus see in Matthew that others did not see? When the prophet Samuel came to the house of Jesse to anoint the future heir to the throne of Israel, he bypassed all the first seven sons and chose the last! “God looks at the heart and not at the appearance of a man” he declared (1 Samuel 16:7). David’s heart was like a compass looking for true north – it pointed to God. Matthew’s heart must have yearned for God, even though he dare not show his face in a synagogue – the Jewish house of prayer and the study of Torah – God’s law. When Jesus saw Matthew sitting at his tax office – no doubt counting his day’s profit – Jesus spoke only two words – “follow me”. Those two words changed Matthew from a self-serving profiteer to a God-serving apostle who would bring the treasures of God’s kingdom to the poor and needy.
John Chrysostom, the great 5th century church father, describes Matthew’s calling: “Why did Jesus not call Matthew at the same time as he called Peter and John and the rest? He came to each one at a particular time when he knew that they would respond to him. He came at a different time to call Matthew when he was assured that Matthew would surrender to his call. Similarly, he called Paul at a different time when he was vulnerable, after the resurrection, something like a hunter going after his quarry. For he who is acquainted with our inmost hearts and knows the secrets of our minds knows when each one of us is ready to respond fully. Therefore he did not call them all together at the beginning, when Matthew was still in a hardened condition. Rather, only after countless miracles, after his fame spread abroad, did he call Matthew. He knew Matthew had been softened for full responsiveness.”
Jesus- the divine physician
When the Pharisees challenged Jesus’ unorthodox behavior in eating with public sinners, Jesus’ defense was quite simple. A doctor doesn’t need to visit healthy people – instead he goes to those who are sick. Jesus likewise sought out those in the greatest need. A true physician seeks healing of the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. Jesus came as the divine physician and good shepherd to care for his people and to restore them to wholeness of life. The orthodox were so preoccupied with their own practice of religion that they neglected to help the very people who needed spiritual care. Their religion was selfish because they didn’t want to have anything to do with people not like themselves. Jesus stated his mission in unequivocal terms: I came not to call the righteous, but to call sinners. Ironically the orthodox were as needy as those they despised. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
On more than one occasion Jesus quoted the saying from the prophet Hosea:For I desire mercy and not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6). Do you thank the Lord Jesus for the great mercy he has shown to you? And do you show mercy to your neighbor as well?
“Lord Jesus, our Savior, let us now come to you: Our hearts are cold; Lord, warm them with your selfless love. Our hearts are sinful; cleanse them with your precious blood. Our hearts are weak; strengthen them with your joyous Spirit. Our hearts are empty; fill them with your divine presence. Lord Jesus, our hearts are yours; possess them always and only for yourself. (Prayer of Augustine, 354-430) “
2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,
10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
20 My soul is consumed with longing for your ordinances at all times.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness, I set your ordinances before me.
40 Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!
131 With open mouth I pant, because I long for your commandments.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Matthew did not delay when called by Jesus, by Chromatius (died 406 AD)
“The Lord, about to give salvation to all sinners believing in him, willingly chose Matthew the former publican. The gift of his esteem for Matthew stands as an example for our salvation. Every sinner must be chosen by God and can receive the grace of eternal salvation if one is not without a religious mind and a devout heart. So Matthew was chosen willingly by God. And though he is immersed in worldly affairs, because of his sincere religious devotion he is judged worthy to be called forth by the Lord (“Follow me”), who by virtue of his divine nature knows the hidden recesses of the heart. From what follows, we know that Matthew was accepted by the Lord not by reason of his status but of his faith and devotion. As soon as the Lord says to him, “Follow me,” he does not linger or delay, but thereupon “he arose and followed him.” (excerpt from TRACTATE ON MATTHEW 45.1)
[Note: Chromatius was an early Christian scholar and bishop of Aquileia, Italy. He was a close friend of John Chrysostom and Jerome. He died in 406 AD. Jerome described him as a “most learned and most holy man.”]
Meditations may be freely reprinted for non-commercial use – please cite: copyright (c) 2020 Servants of the Word, source: dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org, author Don Schwager