In the last section of Luke 5 and beginning of Luke 6 Jesus is preaching primarily to the Jewish religious leaders. His message was not one that they wanted to hear: that the laws they had added on to God’s laws were too much. Those additional laws placed an undue burden on the people trying to follow God’s laws. There were so many laws that the average person couldn’t even know all of them, much less follow them. These laws were not helps, they were hindrances.
It takes a little time for Jesus to get through to the religious leaders, but when they finally understand that Jesus is criticizing them and their rules they turn on Jesus. They close their hearts to Jesus’ teaching and look only for ways to trip him up.
For Reflection: Our God is not a god of “gotcha” – constantly looking for ways to trip us up on the technicalities. He is not looking for ways to keep us out of his kingdom but for ways to help us into the kingdom. Let us keep our hearts, our eyes and our ears open to see what God is saying to us.
Let us pray. “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. . . Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me (Psalm 51:1-2, 10-12).
Jesus took all of our sins onto himself when he was crucified. Even though we had not been born yet, even though we had not sinned yet, he died for us (1 Peter 2:24). He forgave all of our sins at that time. St. Paul assures us, "He forgave us all our sins" (Colossians 2:13). Further, by his death he cancelled the penalty due to those sins which was our eternal death.
Jesus took on himself our sins, our hatred, our cruelty to one another. He also took on what others have done to us - the injustices, the theft, the cursing. He accepts the garbage of the abuser and the hurt of the one who was abused.
These assurances from Peter and Paul are past tense. Already done. But we have to appropriate them in our lives. We have to admit our sins to God and accept the forgiveness that Jesus offers. Then we need to let go of the sin, the guilt, the shame, the hurt. We can trust God with it and not hang on to it. "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7). If we hang on to these things, we deny that Jesus was capable then and still is capable now of saving us. He won the victory.
For Reflection: Have I truly admitted my sins and accepted forgiveness for them? Am I hanging on to the guilt, the shame or the hurt?
Let us pray. Jesus, I realize now that I've been hanging on to the guilt and the hurt. You are more than capable of carrying these, so I give them to you. I don't want them any more. I want to take a victory lap with you.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.