In these first four days before the first Sunday of Lent the Church eases us into the season. In today's Gospel we are reminded by Jesus of something which we all know and will say, but i'm not sure how fully we believe it. Jesus tells the Pharisees:
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.
We will very easily say that we are all sinners, but deep down inside, if we are honest, there is a self-righteous streak in everyone of us. We tend to minimize our own sins and aggrandize the sins of others.
We act as though online sin is less sinful than live sin in the world. We will say things online we would never say to a person's face.
We depersonalize sin, and bemoan the decaying culture or the media, as if they are something apart from us. We, the people, are the culture; and the media gives us what we want to see and hear.
We forget that sin is always personal. It is the choice of an individual to act contrary to God's law. Sin is always in the first person. I know right from wrong and I willfully choose to do wrong.
For the next 5 1/2 weeks every time we get the urge to criticize another person, we should spin that critical light around and point it at our self. Lent is about naming our sins, all of our sins not just the ones we are comfortable naming, feeling true sorrow for them, and confessing them.
When we are willing to plumb the depths of our sins, then we will understand today's gospel and we will indeed hear the merciful voice of Jesus calling.