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Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

If you wish to come after me,” Jesus said, “you must deny your very self, take up your cross, and follow in my footsteps.” I would guess that the problem for most of us is not that we are cold, calculating sinners. The sins we commit are not out and out deliberate acts that we sit down and consciously scheme before putting them into action.

We do not plan to harm anyone, we do not plan to take what belongs to others; we do not plan to use people for our own selfish benefit. The sins of most of us are weaknesses – weaknesses that have become habits (habits that we find ourselves into, often before we realize what we are doing). We are most likely not hardened, cold-blooded sinners. We are just weak and into bad habits. But to become what God wants us to become, we must not only become free of deliberate acts of sin, we must overcome our weaknesses and get rid of our bad habits.

What might some of these weaknesses and bad habits be? They might be sexual weaknesses, weaknesses towards alcohol and drugs, maybe towards gluttonous eating, towards greed. Maybe we are into the bad habit of talking about others behind their backs, maybe we find ourselves complaining about almost everyone and everything out of habit, or criticizing when we should keep our mouths shut. These things might not be as bad as blowing up buildings and murdering people, but they still keep us from becoming like God wants us to be.

If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in my foot-steps.” Some of our crosses are our weaknesses. Wouldn’t it be smart of us to get really serious and do something about them?

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