Practice Truly Makes Perfect

28 Mar

“Every day that we’re not practicing godliness we’re being conformed to the world of ungodliness around us.” ~ Jerry Bridges

On the last school Mass before summer vacation each year, I ask the students one thing:  not to “take a vacation” from God.  They are so excited about the end of the school year. They are excited about not having to go to classes every day. They are excited about not having to turn in assignments as well as take quizzes and tests on a regular basis.  They are looking forward to their “freedom.”

The sad reality is that, when summer vacation comes around, the vacation from school might also imply a vacation from church and from God.  We may not see them at the Masses on the weekends.  When away on vacation, they may not make going to Mass a priority.  In short, God gets left out of the picture.

When we don’t practice godliness, we become conformed more and more to the world of ungodliness that is all around us.  Bridges couldn’t say it any better, in my opinion.

It was because of the ungodliness of the world and our own participation in it that Jesus had to come into our world to suffer and die.  In doing so, He took upon Himself the sins of the ages past as well as the ages to come and gave us the opportunity to come back to Him as He rose from the dead, destroying death and restoring life.

Today, Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, reminds us all that human nature was and is so very fickle.  If we were totally grounded in the Lord, we would not call for His crucifixion.  However, the people who a short time earlier cried out Hosanna! as He entered Jerusalem ended up shouting Crucify Him, Crucify Him! after His arrest.  We need the Lord.  But if we engage in the ungodliness of the world around us, we are in jeopardy of renouncing the Lord just as the crowds did long ago.

You think it’s difficult to engage in the ungodliness of the world?  Think again.  Have you ever told a lie?  Have you ever cheated someone?  Have you ever insisted on your own way over someone else’s need?  Have you ever rejected another person?  Have you ever walked around an area in order to avoid someone who looked unseemly?  Shall I go on?  Those are all the ways of the world, the world that tells us to put ourselves first and over others.

Jesus did not come to embrace the world. He came to invite the people steeped in the world to turn their lives back to God.  He paid the ultimate price for that by His arrest, suffering, and death.  It is Palm Sunday.  Please don’t join with those who reject the Lord.

FAITH ACTION:  Review your life and determine what needs to be rooted out.  Embrace Jesus and not the world.