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October 10, 2018 - Sincerity of Heart

Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Chaplaincy in a hospital can be very challenging when it comes to prayer.  Catholics of a certain age see prayer as something private or if spoken the prayer should be grounded by praying the Our Father.  For most other Christians, prayer is extemporaneous.   This extemporaneous prayer and the ministry that surrounds it, often reflects back to the minister spiritual depth in which it is offered.  Many times it is affirming, but sometimes the image that one conveys it not the one reflected back.  This reflection illuminates both strengths and weaknesses.  The toughest times arise when the mirror image highlights hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is what many of people of faith are easily aware of especially in others.  Paul’s unabashed capacity to stand up for what he believes is clearly evident as he publicly confronts Peter.  Paul accuses Peter of sending mixed messages, or presenting the messages that different audiences would want to hear regardless of whether are consistent or not.  We need not any further than the political discourse in our country to see almost daily new insincerities which create deeper polarization in our culture.  

Paul and Peter were dealing with the growing pains of the early church and certainly faced their own struggle with divergent understandings of discipleship.  Paul accused Peter not “walking the talk”.  Peter’s actions implied that these Gentiles still needed to eat like Jews.  The problem for Paul was two-fold, one that Peter had already eaten with Gentiles and two that Peter had already tacitly agreed that Gentiles did not have to become Jewish.  The divergence dissipated as Paul’s challenge of Peter called him to recognize the truth.

Whether a chaplain, a politician and/or a disciple what Christ demands of us is that we adhere to the Gospel and live our faith authentically.

Our Gospel taught the apostles and now us what it means to pray with a sincerity of heart.  Take some time to contemplate the words of today’s scripture from Luke.  Contemplate how each line is challenging us to more deeply think, talk, and act like Jesus.  

- Deacon Michael Montgomery