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Posts Tagged ‘Zebra longwing buttterfly’

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Blaming Others:  A Dead End

Blaming others when something goes haywire in our lives is almost part of our DNA. The urge to do so has been there since the dawn of human self-awareness;  and perhaps that’s why it shows up so early in the Bible.  Eve may have won first prize for the originality of her sin of disobedience;  but Adam got a close second for originality when he blamed Eve for his own poor decision.

The issue of personal responsibility and the consequences of our decisions are prime themes in today’s readings.  In Daniel 9 the prophet decries the evil that he sees all around him.   Like prophets before him he called to task both leaders and followers for their reluctance to own up to their sins.  Daniel of course was not the first to be a thorn in the public conscience, however, and he rightly fretted about the fate that awaited him.

A1797C38-5F74-4582-B7DB-2D8F26E706C7In chapter 6 of the gospel of Luke Jesus pointed out the long-term results of assigning blame to others rather than admit when we fail.  If we’re the sort who spends much of the time condemning others for sins both big and minuscule, sooner or later that comes home to roost.  Suspicion and contempt for others slowly warp our lives, and more often than not we become the people whom we constantly rake over the coals.

Conversely, if we make an effort to discern the good in others, in time we’re likely to unleash the good which is deep within us.  So it is that Jesus says “the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

Not so long ago I stumbled onto a formula that I’ve come to depend on when I preach on the sacrament of reconciliation.  In the face of a long line at a penance service my plea is now simple.  “If you’re here to confess your own sins, then great.  But if you’re here to confess somebody else’s sins, don’t.  Life is too short for that sort of thing, and it leads to the dead end it so richly deserves.”

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NOTES

+Today’s post is the  sermon that I delivered today at the abbey Mass.

+During the past week I was in Naples, FL, where I met with friends and alumni of Saint John’s University. The high point happened to be a reception on March 3rd that featured speeches by two of our students from nearby Immokalee, FL.  They did a stellar job and I was a quite proud of them.

+This week the monks of Saint John’s Abbey will undergo a monastic visitation by four monks from one Canadian and three American abbeys.  Because individual Benedictine monasteries remain largely independent from one another, unlike houses of Jesuits or Franciscans, we rely on periodic evaluations by outside consultants.  Our last visitation was in 2015, and the point of it all is to make recommendations for improvement in addition to pointing out strengths and opportunities.

+On Sunday March 8th we read the gospel account of the Transfiguration.  The first three photos in today’s post show scenes from the church of the Transfiguration on the summit of Mount Tabor.  At bottom is a photo of a Zebra Longwing Butterfly, the official butterfly of the state of Florida.  I patiently waited for it to alight in a shrub in front of the home of my friends Tom and Nancy.  Unfortunately I could not coax it to move to the center of the photo.

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