Friday, April 8, 2011

Righetous Is Not a Four Letter Word!

Today's readings expose the irritations that the wicked or those who have either fallen away from God or do not see need for him in their lives feel about the "righteousness" of others.  Essentially, the wicked or those who have no to a limited need of God, tend to make their own path, because they have lost all sense of who God is and their lives are not guided by the Spirit, but the flesh.  To see someone attempt holiness (which is what we are all called to do) is truly irritating for them.  Perhaps it is because in today's environment the word "righteousness" is basically considered a "four letter word" and has such a negative connotation, sort of a "holier than thou" description.  However, it is unfortunate that the word "righteousness" has become a sour taste in some people's mouths.  Righteousness does not mean that one thinks they are above others, it means that they choose to do something!  It means one is choosing to embark on the journey and hold steadfast to the virtues that they have in the Lord, in the Holy Spirit and the Cross.  Righteousness need not be judgemental, instead it can be an example of not settling for mediocrity or indifference to the presence of God in our lives.

Regarding today's reading from the book of Wisdom (2:1a, 12-22), Fr. Gary Caster makes a profound point stating, "that the wicked cannot see the innocent soul's reward, because holiness is 'obonxious' to them, and 'knowledge of God' a hardship."  Wow!  Can we see this in today's society or what!  Where innocence is trampled on and preserving it is deemed as foolish and taking the straight and narrow way is hard, so as a result, many abandon it or don't want to "rock the boat" or project their virtues on others by appearing "self-righteous." So, as a result they remain silent and refuse to take a stand and defend Christ.  But, we need to remember that Christ reminds us that we are to, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it" (Matthew 7:13). 

F. Gary Caster goes on his reflection of today's reading in stating that the wicked underscores errors in judgement.  One of them being that they feel "threatened' or "judged" by the righteousness of others.  He states, "If we find goodness of our neighbor to be distasteful, then we have probably lost our hunger for God."  He continues to say that this should not be viewed as an affront for our love of God, but a hope that we too can grow in holiness.

Of course, we never want to think we've reached some religious or spiritual pinnacle like the Pharisees, they were certainly self-righteous and did not act in the wisdom and humility that comes from a close and love-filled relationship God and subsequently with neighbor.  However, we are to remain firm despite our failings, sinfulness and that our desire to have a close relationship with God may irritate others.  We are not to compromise our beliefs in our faith to accommodate other's insecurities, irritations or false perceptions of our motives.  For we must put God first and again, Christ warned us that this may cause division at times (Matthew 10:34).  Therefore, we have nothing to fear, especially if our efforts are humble, genuine and true, because he assures us that once this is done, all other things will fall into place, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33).

Seeking God, having an inmate relationship with him and living that out can be a hardship at times, after all, it is the way of the Cross.  Living this life with God is counter to settling for mediocrity or a culture of indifference or doing whatever we "feel" is good at the moment, essentially making our own path that strays from the narrow one we are called to walk.  But do not settle for this, do something!  God even asks us to do something about it when he calls us to rejoice when we are put down by others for his sake (Matthew 5:12).  And, Bl. John Paul II calls us to action to in saying:

"Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity.
Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."


Fr. Gary Caster. (2010).   The Little Way of Lent:  Mediating in the Spirit of St. Thereses of Lisieux.  St. Anthony Messenger Press:  Cincinnati, Ohio.


  1. Good thoughtful writing. Glad you are here.

    Thank you!


  2. Thank you, Dave. Peace and all good things to you. --JEK

  3. I love the quote by JPII!!!

    Very nice! I agree with Dave when he says he is glad you are here!

    God bless

  4. Thank you, DG. I love this JP II as well. He has so many wonderful ones!