"If the Lord had not been on our side…"

(Psalm 124.1)

In the Christian world,
there are three kinds of people

First group, rather numerous, are the Pharisees.
They are good and they know they are good!
They sing their own praises.
They have a tendency to look down on others.
When they go to confession, they find it so hard to identify their sins.
And if they do, they always somehow justify themselves.
It is always the fault of others. Always.

They have a weird way of seeing reality.
"How is it, Pale', that everything goes wrong for me
considering I am such a good person…
while my neighbor, who is so reckless and irresponsible
seems to be having so much fun?!"

You know what?, it is these kind of good people who killed Jesus!

Then there are the half and half folks
- half one thing and half another!
They are neither saints nor devils
They hobble their way through.
They say: 'I am not a saint, but I am neither a devil'.
They try to please God
- going to mass Sundays, be a friend of the pale', put on a smiley face -
because 'one never knows what comes handy in life'.
They never commit grievous sins,
not because they don't wish to,
but because they are afraid… of the punishment.
They do their utmost to live a tranquil life,
soft and spongy with-the wife-the husband-the children;
They are on a work-to-rule arrangement.

They never risk anything.
A mashed-potato life!
Family first and foremost, and then that the son graduates.
Going to Mass becomes a tranquillizer.
Church dress fits him perfectly.
This father, who perhaps receives Communion every Sunday,
will never tell his son:
"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God… find a meaning to your life…"
No way!
He would rather tell him: "Son, study, study hard… this is important."
His ideals are that he is respected in society,
that he has a good job,
a wife with two children (not more, obviously).
He may read the Gospel, but he closes it quickly because he says:
'This is all beautiful and poetic… but in life you need to be practical'

The Word of God is clear regarding these people:
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot;
I wish that you were cold or hot.
So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of My mouth!!"

There is also a third category of people.
Those who know they are sinners because they have sinned.
And amazingly enough, felt treasured in their sin!
They were stupid enough to believe in the catechesis of the devil,
paying a very high price in the process.
Sin, they believed, is something beautiful,
it gives enjoyment and pleasure
But they found out to their own bitter experience,
that sin is an acid fruit,
that it tastes like honey at first but then,
produces a terrible heart pain.

This is exactly why these people felt the need and the urgency
to turn to Jesus Christ and ask him to have pity on them.
Like the sick person who looks at the doctor.
Like someone who is drowning, and shouts for help.
Like a slave who hopes someone will redeem him.
They feel confident about HIM
because He did heal them and save them.

We call these people 'Christians'.

We always thought that
the Christian is the good man,
content with himself and his achievements,
a kind of a spiritual superman/superwoman
maybe full of compromises.

NO, we found out that
the Christian is a very normal person,
aware of his sin
but who keeps looking up,
knowing from where his help will come.

"When that Day comes you will never again be ashamed
of all the deeds
with which you once rebelled against me,
for I shall rid you of those who exult in your pride;
never again will you strut
on my holy mountain.
But in you I shall leave surviving a humble and lowly people,
and those who are left in Israel
will take refuge in the name of Lord.
They will do no wrong, will tell no lies;
nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths.
But they will be able to graze and rest
with no none to alarm them."

(Zephaniah 3, 11-13)

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.