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A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites, You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.

"Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ' If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.' Blind fools, which is greater, the god, or the temple that made the gold sacred? And you say, ' If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.' You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it." The Gospel of the Lord. Praise be to you Lord Jesus Christ.

REFLECTION: You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men....

We all have met people who make our lives miserable. From the teacher, the preacher, the mom and dad, kids, boss, bus driver, congressman, etc . Please fill in your misery __________.

Imagine the Jewish people- everywhere they turned there were rules and regulations. The rulers, however, did not keep the rules and regulations because, after all they were the lawmakers. The goal line kept moving and eventually, the door to the Kingdom of God became totally inaccessible. And this is why Jesus was upset..

Have we not seen this same scenario 2000 years later? God offers His intimate friendship to us, knocks on the door, but sometimes we can’t open the door because of others, but sometimes we refuse to open the door because of ourselves. And sometimes we don’t allow those in our lives to open the door because of us. When the Lord Jesus knocks on the door of your heart do we answer and receive him? Do we ignore or reject his offer? Do we help others know God by how we treat them?

We all go through rough patches—that is life. In spite of these dry patches, do we choose to recognize the good in ourselves and in others? Do we wake up with a smile and thank God for the loveliness of His day? Do we choose our words so that kindness keeps "all" going forward? Do we energize and give hope to those we meet? Do we brighten someone’s day? Instead of telling people what they did wrong, why not point out all the good you see in them? We can choose to see the good in people. Never underestimate what an encouraging word can do for others. Try putting yourself in another’s shoes, and understand why they did what they did or said what they said. Most importantly, we pray for their souls and we get them as close to that door so that they can say “yes” to Jesus.

Jesus is the door and the way so that we can access heaven and God’s throne. Let us today resolve to show Jesus to others with our smile, our words, our deeds and with our blessings. “We want to put the smile of Jesus into the life of anyone we meet. No one should leave us without feeling closer to God and His Church. In a word, we want to be a smile of Jesus for all.” (Our PAPA Legacy, page 23 PAPA handbook).

PRAYER: Dearest Lord, please forgive me for the obstacles I put in others lives. I ask for their forgiveness and pray that you continue to be my strength, giving me comfort during my sufferings. Please intervene in our lives, as we understand that there are times we have to make the trek up the High Place by ourselves with you by our side. We trust that you will always be there knocking at our door. Pray for us that we open the door to our eternal rest with you. AMEN

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