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Get into the ring! How this works...

This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October 30, 2011 - 31st Sunday of the Year

-Homily's available by email at
-scriptures for this Sunday at >
-I will be preaching at 4:00 Mass and 11:00 Mass.

Religious blindness to personhood is the worst

I am thinking that religious blindness (read: pharisaicalism) is the most damaging of all such blindnesses that plague our culture with disrespect. We usually are blinded to the Personhood and thus dignity of others because of their disturbing disguise. Others take things on themselves that we find offensive, disturbing and that distract or blind us to their dignity as persons. This has been my theme throughout Respect Life month.

The Pharisees however come up with a dangerous twist to this operation. They discover or design a difficult profile of religiosity that they can abide by. They are "able" religiously. They then impose this standard or profile or costume or disguise upon others. These others don't wear the disguise very well and then the pharisee disregards or disrespects the other because they are not living up to HIS standard. It's frightening and fierce. And it works very well.

I say it works well because it makes the broken, frail and imperfect Pharisee feel good about him/herself. The costume of perfect religious observance hides, consoles, and blinds the "unloved and unlovable Pharisee" even from her/himself. Self-hatred, the beginning of all disrespect for persons and life, is the devil's gift to the human family created in the Divine Image. Self-hatred is the blindness underlying all others that drives us to all manner of hateful thinking, speaking, acting, and choosing.

I propose that this pharisee's blindness to persons is worse than all the others because It is a misuse of God's gift of religion. It is using the most powerful force for Good in the world and twisting it into evil. This pharisaical blindness is a favorite weapon of the enemies of God. When the enemies of God see pharisaicalism they use it not only to hate but to get religion and God out of our social and political life. It is a very effective and powerful weapon in the culture wars between Good and evil of every age. Notice, for example, that whenever an insane or criminal person appears on the scene who has religious motives or associations, true religion becomes the "evil" that must be irradiated from society. Clever devil!

Being religiously motivated people ourselves, we have to beware of the temptation of the pharisee - fascination with our version of religious righteousness that allows us to judge others and blinds us to their value as dignified human persons. That is amazingly easy to do when you are living "right". It is, however, always wrong.

Is this temptation real in your life? Let me know if I'm just being pharisaical! :)