SATURDAY HOMILY: Sin Brings Sadness, Conversion Brings Joy
at his house in Jesus' honor and invite his friends, most of whom were fellow "tax collectors and sinners." He had just given up everything to follow Christ, but he wasn't sad. Instead, he threw a party! Why? Because he had been lost but now he was found. He was exceedingly grateful to the Lord and he could not contain his joy.
These words spoken by our Holy Father at his inaugural Mass as pope come to mind: "Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return" (Homily, Benedict XVI, April 24, 2005).
Sin always leads to sadness. If left unattended to and "untreated," as it were, sin can lead to despair and final impenitence. On the other hand, true conversion leads to joy. When one finds his way, when one knows he's on the path that God has set out for him, the heart rejoices. "Blessed those whose way is blameless, who walk by the law of the LORD" (Psalm 119:1).
We can ask ourselves, How readily have I responded to the call of God in my life? Am I generously following the path He has shown me or am I holding back? Do I know the saving joy that comes from following God's will?
Grant, O Lord, that we may always be renewed by the food we receive from Christ.
Just as Jesus entered into St. Matthew's life and changed him forever, more and more the Lord wants to enter into our lives especially in our times of prayer and in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is where He feeds us and speaks to our souls. Can you not hear Him say to you the very words He spoke to Levi-Matthew? "Follow me!" And what will be your answer?
In this Year of Faith we should be praying for the grace of conversion for ourselves and for the whole world. God wants everyone to be saved and to know the joy of living in His presence. May Holy Mary, Refuge of Sinners, and St. Matthew, sinner turned saint, intercede for us!
Fr. G. Peter Irving III is a priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and is pastor of Holy Innocents Church, Long Beach, California.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: abortion issue, roe v wade, year of faith, daily homily, Fr. G. Peter Irving, Margaret Sanger, Mike Wallace, contraception, aborton, sin, conversion, Saint Matthew
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