This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Tuesday of the Twenty-First Week In Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)
Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity.
Last week was a very busy week for me. It was also a very interesting week. I felt like a firefighter, and everywhere I went, I was putting out fires.
At the hospital. I went to visit an elderly man who was suffering from a very serious infection. He could barely speak to me due to the excruciating pain he was in. His son, a man who had recently returned to the Church, was standing next to me. He asked me to speak to his dad alone. He told me his dad had a lot of things to confess. He left us alone in the room and I sat down beside the ill man’s bed. He tried to speak, but the pain was just too much for him. After about 30 minutes, I told him not to worry and to rest. I then proceeded to anoint his forehead, saying: “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy bless you with the Holy Spirit.” I then anointed his hands, saying: “May the Lord free you from your sins and save you and raise you up.”
I called the son back into the room and said, “Your father was in too much pain to do a confession, so I went ahead and anointed him. Don’t worry. His sins have been forgiven.”
But I guess that wasn’t good enough for him. He began to ask his father why he thought he was in so much pain; and if his pain may have been related to the state of his soul. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. From the sound of it, the son held some animosity towards his father and I wanted him to stop talking to his father like that. I stared at him but I didn’t get his attention. Finally, I kicked his foot, looked at him and said, “Enough!”
You have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity.
As I said before, the son had just come back to the Church. He’s a good man. But you know what happens: We’ve been away from the Church for years. We come back. We come back with a vengeance! A sense of superiority. In the end, this son may have felt superior to his father. But it is not to be this way. The Son is always at the service of The Father.
As a priest I have witnessed for myself the incredible power of mercy and humility, and how they have the power to heal and save loved ones, relationships, families and friendships. Through Christ, they are the means to our salvation.
My experience has been this: when someone is in pain, the best thing to do is to listen to them and stay near them. When someone asks a lot of tough questions about the Catholic faith, the first thing to do is look into their eyes and ask them one simple question: What’s going on?