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GOSPEL COMMENTARIES


 

 

 

THE THEORY OF JUSTIFICATION BASED ON AN ERRONEOUS CONSCIENCE (LUKE 18:9-14)

The text of the psalm should make us ponder.  Holy people have always been conscious of Psalm 19: 12-13.  "But who can discern his errors? Clear thou me from hidden faults."  The Holy Spirit in the words of the psalm is teaching us an eternal truth.  That we have hidden faults.  St. Augustine was conscious of this.  How can these hidden faults escape our conscience?  One does not feel any guilt from committing his hidden fault because his conscience makes a mistake in judging.  And so, as you commit the sin, the conscience is silent.  When the conscience finds no guilt, often because of an error in judgment, it remains silent.  And, in the Catholic world, the consciences of most Catholics are silent.  And this is a more dangerous state of soul than if one feels guilty after doing something wrong.  One who no longer notices that adultery is a sin has fallen farther than the one who still recognizes the shamefulness of his action, because the former is further removed from the truth and conversion. 

Christ compared the Pharisee who appeared to have done nothing wrong and had done good deeds. . .to the Tax collector who seemed to have done nothing good and done much evil.  And Christ obviously praised the tax collector and condemned the Pharisee because the Pharisee had a silent conscience while the tax collector had a good conscience.  The silent conscience made the Pharisee impenetrable to God and men; while the feeling of guilt of the tax collector made him capable of truth and love.  He has not become unreachable for the change that God expects of him.  Jesus can move sinners but not the self-righteous who hide behind the screen of their erroneous conscience.  He becomes unreachable for the change that God expects of him.  Christ was ineffective with the "righteous" because they are not aware of any need for forgiveness and conversion.  Their consciences no longer accuse them  They justify them.  The scenario is worse when one is Catholic, a priest or even a bishop. The titles justify them and blind their consciences. 

 

 

 

 

 

(10-29-05)

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