Tuesday of the fifth week of Lent, 2023

    March 28, 2023

    “For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” – John 8:24

    Each and every person walking the earth today suffers from a fallen nature. We are sinners; there is no exception. We need a remedy for our nature and our behavior.

    We can and should grow in holiness, working to avoid even the near occasion of sin. We can also give our lives in service of others through acts of charity, knowing that love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). In the end, however, these acts of holiness and charity will still not get us past St. Peter at the pearly gates of heaven.

    This is where the Pharisees were wrong and why Jesus was so stern with them. They taught that if you complied with the Law you were all set. Your external actions were the determining factor. Yet they stacked up rules by the hundreds to the extent that it was impossible for anyone to consider themselves holy. They then scolded and roundly condemned their people.

    Jesus teaches a new way — one given him by the Father, and foreshadowed in the book of Numbers. In an odd way, Moses offered the image of a serpent mounted on a pole for the people to look at. When they saw and believed that it could heal, it did just that. Likewise, Jesus climbed up on the cross as sacrifice for our sins and offers salvation for all who believe:

    Believe that the Father loves you and made you in His image and likeness.

    Believe that He understands your attempts to be holy and love your neighbor.

    Believe that He understands your struggles and continual failings.

    Believe that even though you sin, your sins can be forgiven.

    Believe that He wants you to be with Him for all eternity in heaven.

    Take the gift that He is giving. When you sin, don’t run away from Him but run to Him. Look upon Him on the cross and believe that He can forgive any and every sin that you could ever commit or contemplate.

    Pray these words with me today: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

    Then share this gift of God’s mercy with others in your life.

    Deacon Kevin Sartorius serves as the CEO of Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma.

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