Friday, March 18, 2011

The last penny

Ezekiel 18:21-28; Ps 130 If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?; Matthew 5:20-26

The refrain from today's Psalm is intriguing, "If you , O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand."

This should certainly give us a pause, a moment to stop and ponder our own reality of weakness and failures and falls.

What a statement of truth, "If you O Lord mark iniquities who can stand."

Yet, as i read this I am also reminded of the prayer at mass in EUcharistic Prayer II after the consecration, the priest says these words standing at the altar, "Lord, we give you thanks for having made us worthy to stand in your presence to serve you."

Lord, who can stand and thank you for allowing us to stand in your presence.

What an interesting dynamic for the human mind and soul to dive right into and swim awhile!

Now we transpose that with the last words of today's gospel as Jesus tells his disciples, as he tells us, "AMen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."

Can when stand, will we stand, what about this penny.

The last penny is a daunting reality. But in some sense the penny has been found and been paid.

On Friday's during Lent it is a tradition for many in the church to practice the devotion of praying the way of the cross, where we meditate on the journey Christ takes to calvary. As we walk with him, we must discover that the penny is being paid as he carries the cross, receives the nails, breathes his last.

IT is paid in full. Yet, this doesn't mean we are off the hook, but it does give us a reason to hope, a reason to move forward. we no longer have to worry about the last penny, now it is a matter of simply receiving the goodness of Christ and returning the favor.

THis is what Christ means when he invites us to "surpass" the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees."

TO surpass implies to be more super abundant. That is we are called to be more super abundant in our goodness toward others in our goodness in opening our heart to the will of God seeking his will and living it in obedience.

The last penny is no longer dangling over our head; it has been nailed to the cross. So no what will we do to return the favor?

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