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#knockitoff

First Reading: Romans 2:1-11

You, O man, are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment.
For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself,
since you, the judge, do the very same things.
We know that the judgment of God on those who do such things is true.
Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things
and yet do them yourself,
that you will escape the judgment of God?
Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience
in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God
would lead you to repentance?
By your stubbornness and impenitent heart,
you are storing up wrath for yourself
for the day of wrath and revelation
of the just judgment of God,
who will repay everyone according to his works,
eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality
through perseverance in good works,
but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth
and obey wickedness.
Yes, affliction and distress will come upon everyone
who does evil, Jew first and then Greek.
But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone
who does good, Jew first and then Greek.
There is no partiality with God.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 62:2-3, 6-7, 9

R. (13b) Lord, you give back to everyone according to his works.
Only in God is my soul at rest;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all.
R. Lord, you give back to everyone according to his works.
Only in God be at rest, my soul,
for from him comes my hope.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.
R. Lord, you give back to everyone according to his works.
Trust in him at all times, O my people!
Pour out your hearts before him;
God is our refuge!
R. Lord, you give back to everyone according to his works.

Gospel: Luke 11:42-46

The Lord said:
“Woe to you Pharisees!
You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb,
but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God.
These you should have done, without overlooking the others.
Woe to you Pharisees!
You love the seat of honor in synagogues
and greetings in marketplaces.
Woe to you!
You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”

Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply,
“Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”
And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!
You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”

NAB

oct 14

Well, Saint Paul . . . I don’t really know how I can top that. If there was such a thing as a mic drop, the book of Romans would be it.

I often wonder how Saint Paul would get along in modern times—how would he be received in the days of Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and so many others. Would he have a blog? Could he get his letters into 140 characters? Would he use hashtags?

#raginginrome

#judgesgonnajudge

#whathappensindamascus

#blindedbythelight

Probably he would be pulling his hair out as the online world goes about just like the Romans. Making websites meant only to tear apart coworkers, classmates, or people you’ve never even met. How would he confront cyberbullying or unfair search algorithms or inconsistent news coverage? Would he have a smartphone?

As fun as it is to speculate whether he’d accept the Kindle or not, the message is no less important. Here Saint Paul tells us in no uncertain terms . . . #knockitoff. All that judgement, all that bickering, all that unhealthy talk and thought that does nothing to create or foster a Christian life or community . . . #knockitoff.

I think it’s easy for us to distance ourselves from what we portray online. We’re not actually saying things to someone’s face so somehow it becomes easier to make assumptions and cast aspersions on their actions that we’d never dream of saying to their face. We argue over heated topics forgetting a real person is on the other side of that cyberspace. We snap pictures and make tweets filled with snark and indifference. We criticize the lives of people we’ve never met, and we demand media fodder that creeps more and more into people’s personal lives. We use private forums and private messages to pass notes in class.

Y’all, Saint Paul wants you to #knockitoff.  God wants you to #knockitoff.  It doesn’t matter that it’s just online. It doesn’t matter that “no one will ever see it.” It doesn’t matter if you just meant it as a joke. This is not how we’re supposed to live. This is exactly why the Romans were asking for the #saintpaulsmackdown. The times have changed, the means and methods have changed, but clearly our faulty human nature hasn’t evolved very far.

Friends, we are meant to be better. We’re meant to respect privacy. We’re meant to be generous. We’re meant to be careful with our words. We’re meant to shut down those screens when something is causing us to act like those Romans.

God will give back according to our work, let’s not assume He ignores the works we do online. Are you proud of how you act online?

photo by Sara Miller

Molly Walter is a wife, mother and homemaker (with a pesky job outside the home). She shares about making the life she wants with the life she’s been given over here.

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