The Lord makes it clear that He will reject us as His disciples if our relationships with Him and our neighbor are characterized by pridefulness rather than humility, our faith is without works, we harbor self-righteousness instead of self-effacement, and stick to our will in place of His. Jesus routinely calls out this hypocrisy as fundamentally antithetical to communion with Him. Scripture goes even further by condemning the “lukewarmness” of a duplicitous and divided heart: “So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation: 3:16). Strong words indeed! Our Lord is saying to us, “Beware!” True conversion of the heart and true recovery from the bondage of self are serious endeavors with everlasting ramifications. It is literally a matter of life and death, physically and spiritually.
I really believe that the saints like my patron Saint Augustine, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Saint Mark Ji Tianxiang would “get” a CIR meeting. As I often share in my home CIR group, recovery is simply a means to an end, nothing more and nothing less than learning how to become a devoted and trusting lover of the Holy Trinity. It is where we learn how to integrate recovery principles with the sacramental life of the Church, how to make a living amends with our loved ones, and how to unlearn the hypocrisy and duplicity of heart that rendered us lukewarm—at best—in the midst of our addiction or unhealthy attachments. Fortunately, by relying on God’s grace and mercy in the sacraments and prayer, as well as working the Twelve Steps with our sponsor, we can cleanse the temple of our souls from all the fears, delusions, resentments, distrust, and subtle manipulations from the Devil that lead to disordered desires, unhealthy attachments, and outright addictions.
Jesus, I trust in You. Our Lady Undoer of Knots, pray for us. St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
- Reflect upon your path to recovery. How has your recovery work been similar to Jesus’ cleansing of the temple?
- The Lord declares the following in today’s Gospel reading regarding the fig tree: “‘May no one ever eat of your fruit again!’ And his disciples heard it” (Mark 11:14). Do you hear the Lord as well? In what ways have you not borne fruit or borne fruit unworthy of our Lord and harmful to your neighbor?
Daily Mass Readings
First Reading: Sirach 44:1, 9-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b
Gospel: Mark 11:11-26
Reflection by Pete S.