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Lent: Which thief are you?

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Personal experience reveals sinful activity as a wound, self-inflicted, carried in shame and hurt, covered up by a cloak of innocence and social acceptability, seemingly common to the crowd. This is the sinner trying to fit in, trying to hide their hurt. Personal experience also reveals repentance and conversion, lived sacramentally, charitably, and prayerfully, within the community, rejected as evil because of past sins. This is the sinner, truly embracing the grace of God, rejected by 'disciples,' hell bent on bringing forth Judgment Day.

Hypocrites try to hide their sinful activity under the mask of goodness. Hypocrites, however, sometimes repent, and become the greatest of God's holy saints! Truth be told, when the hypocrite-become-saint is a peasant, the community of 'disciples' either doesn't notice, or they are reluctant to embrace them wholeheartedly. But, when the hypocrite-become-saint is physically beautiful, talented, rich, or influential, then, Alleluia!, he, or she, is embraced as the next Saul become Paul.

Sinners mysteriously become saints--even when the Church doesn't notice. And 'good people' secretly sin, even when they seem to run the show.

Yet, truthfully, only Jesus knows the hypocrite and the saint.

"If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die...And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil, the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does, can he do this and still live?" Ezekiel 18:21-28

Thugs, punks, sneaks, liars, and the very scum of the earth, are within the Saving gaze of our Loving God. If I offend, I apologize, but Jesus roamed the holy land in search of such people, dining with them, dying on the Cross for them. And I don't know about you, but, sometimes, in my life, I am one of them.

The real problem with the world today is that there are too many 'good' Catholics and Christians. Huh?

There are all too many nice, neat, politically correct Catholics, and Christians, who pay their bills, donate money in an envelope, keep a neat yard, pay their taxes, and wave hello to their neighbors. But they (we) are all too proud, all too lustful, all to envious, and support all too many worldly evils. Sure, they aren't a thief or a thug. But they vote for the President, and other politicians, not from their Christian faith, but from worldly considerations. They live with disdain for the Teaching of the Church, using contraception, supporting businesses which fund abortions, enjoying popular entertainment which shuns and mocks the virtuous life.

But they clean up nice on Sunday! And they aren't one of those dirty sinners!

"Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice...If you, O LORD, mark iniquities, LORD, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered." Psalm 130:1-8

Really 'holy' Pharisees mocked Jesus while He hung from His Cross. They appeared holy in their fancy robes and self-righteous nature. The crucified thief, however, in his repentance and contrition, appeared only to Jesus as robed in Jesus' Divine Mercy. For the Pharisee, and the Roman pagan onlooker, he seemed to be a dying, desolate dirtbag.

The same thing happens everyday in our Catholic parishes and Christian houses of worship.

Interestingly, the most holy people at the Crucifixion, Mary, John, and the women who accompanied them, were probably the least noticed people...except, of course, by Jesus Himself.

"Jesus said to his disciples: 'I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:20-26

Truthfully, many a non-pious and unlearned man will enter the gates of Heaven before I pay my last penny in Purgatory. Yet, every coin has two sides. Many a priest, reverend, pastor, deacon, choir master, parish-council-member, superstar, diva, catechist, bishop, charismatic evangelist, and overall 'good guy and gal' will be behind me as St. Peter checks us in.

For, only Jesus truly knows the hypocrite and the saint.

Thoughts? Darts? Encouragement? Disdain?