August 5–Create a clean heart in me, O God.

A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me.  Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me.

This line from today’s responsorial Psalm (Ps 51:12-13) pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?  You may recall yesterday’s entry on Saint John Vianney.  He preached against the evils of sin and pilgrims came by the thousands to hear him speak and to let him hear their confessions.  He pulled no punches when it came to sin and the people loved it.

Like many preachers, I usually avoid talking about sin.  I don’t want to make anyone mad.  I want to be popular.  After all, I have to live with my parishioners.  What if I talk about the sanctity of marriage and someone in the crowd is living in sin.  I don’t want to embarrass them.  I don’t want to make them uncomfortable.

In other words, “I’m a coward”.  That’s the only explanation.  When I was ordained, I knelt before the Archbishop and put my hand on the book of the Gospels.  He said, “Receive the Book of the Gospels, whose herald you now are.  Believe what you read. Preach what you believe, and practice what you preach.”

Believe it.  Preach it.  Practice it.  Simple enough, but how often do many of us do what we promised?  Jesus talked about sin.  He was against it.  It’s recorded in the Gospels.  Yet, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve preached against a specific sin.  Like I said, I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.  But if you read Jesus’ words, he had no problem with making folks squirm.  In fact, that often seems to be His mission.  After all, what’s worse?  A little discomfort now, or an eternity of separation from God?  I think we all know the answer.

We prayed today that God would create in us a clean heart and a steadfast spirit.  My job is to help you do exactly that.  Woe unto me if I preach not the Gospel.

BTW, living with someone without the benefit of the Sacrament of Marriage is a sin.  Don’t do it!

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