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Saturday, 11 April 2015

Revealing the Sins of the Apostles

Mark 16:9-15Douay-Rheims 

But he rising early the first day of the week, appeared first to Mary Magdalen, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
10 She went and told them that had been with him, who were mourning and weeping.
11 And they hearing that he was alive, and had been seen by her, did not believe.
12 And after that he appeared in another shape to two of them walking, as they were going into the country.
13 And they going, told it to the rest: neither did they believe them.
14 At length he appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again.
15 And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Today, Christ upbraids the apostles for two sins-yes, sins. 
The context is that the Eleven refused to believe both Mary Magdalen and the two disciples who met Jesus on the way to Emmaus.  
The two sins for which Christ suffered on the Cross and to which He reprimands them in this Gospel are obstinacy and the unwillingness to believe.
These two sins involve acts of the will. Obstinacy may be called in our culture "pig-headedness" or "rigidity".  This sin comes from two big sins--inordinate self-love, or selfishness, and rebellion.
The sin of rebellion was THE sin of the Jews in the Old Testament. Innumerable times do we see the prophets reprimanding the people for rebellion, for hardness of heart.
Pig-headedness just means that a person wants what they want when they want it and too bad, so sad for the consequences. Basically, this sin is one of pride, as well as the primal sin of rebellion.
The unwillingness to believe, incredulity, indicates a turning away from grace. In other words, the apostles turned away from the truth of the appearances of Christ to their own comfort zones of unbelief.

They were still acting like Old Testament Jews, instead of New Testament Christians. They had to repent, and Christ, the Son of God, severely rebuked them-the meaning of the word upbraided, or reprimanded.
No small thing to be severely rebuked by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity-Christ, God and Man...Maybe if they listened to Him, believed in His Resurrection, the apostles would have to change their lifestyles. Big time decisions can be put off by rebellion.
We all can fall back into old patterns of sin. This is the reason for seeking out, begging God for purgation. Purification is the only way to stop the habits of sin.
In today's Epistle, we see brave and true apostles, but this is after Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit gave them the very virtues we have to go out and preach the Gospel.
Fortitude, temperance, prudence, justice--the cardinal virtues, faith, hope, love-the theological virtues, and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit....wisdom connected to prudence, perfecting love, understanding connected to justice and perfects hope, knowledge connected to prudence and perfects love, counsel connected to prudence and perfects it, fortitude adding to the virtue of fortitude--as we need more courage and the insights of this most important virtue, piety connected to temperance and justice, and fear of the Lord., also informing, connected to temperance. This information is all found in the teachings of Aquinas and commentators on the virtues throughout the history of the Church, including the catechisms. 
The gifts perfect the cardinal and theological virtues. See my other posts on these.
We have these and it is only sin which prevents us from proclaiming the Gospel to the world, as commanded (not suggested) by God.
Let God cleanse you, bringing you to purity of heart so that these virtues and gifts may be manifested in the world. More now than ever does the world need holiness...