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8/28/16 Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time - Fr. Reggie

What is the major difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament?

The two pictures painted for us today by the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews tell us. One picture is of Mt Sinai, where God gave his Law to the People of Israel through Moses. Mt Sinai is a symbol of the entire Old Testament. The other picture is of Mt Zion, where Jerusalem was located. This was a symbol of heaven, of the city of believers that have entered into communion with God - not through fearful obedience to God's strict laws, but through loving obedience to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. These are the members of the New Testament.

The Old and New Testaments are both covenants - solemn, committed relationships freely entered into. The relationship in both cases is between God and his chosen people, between God and those who believe in him. This relationship gradually matured as God revealed himself more and more, from the beginning of the Old Testament until the establishment of the New.

These two pictures, therefore, can give us a good idea of the difference between an immature and a mature relationship with God.

In the Old Covenant, people had an incomplete notion of who God is, and as a result, their relationship with him was immature - not wrong, just immature. .....


Is that how we are living?

Let's do a check-up. Let's measure our spiritual maturity by looking at some of our Christian vital signs.

First, there's confession.  The immature Christian stays far away from confession; for him, confession is like the thunderous mountaintop. It only inspires fear. For the mature Christian, confession is an intimate conversation with the Lord who never gets tired of forgiving; it is a joyful embrace; a coming home again, like the Prodigal Son.

Second, there's morality.  The immature Christian sees following the moral teachings of Christ and the Church as a burden; it's like following a list of random and inconvenient rules. For the mature Christian, following Christ is a meaningful, joyful mission; it can be hard, but so can many other things in life that are worthwhile.

Finally, there's the virtue of mercy.  The immature Christian takes pleasure in criticizing less faithful people and talking about their faults. The mature Christian sees every person as a brother or sister, and treats them with unconditional respect, always giving them the benefit of the doubt, whether present or absent.

If this check-up has shown that there's room for improvement in our Christian maturity, let's ask God in this Mass to help it happen by opening our minds and hearts to see him as he really is: our loving Father and our faithful Friend.

We'll never grow up until we do.



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