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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus forcefully calls the Pharisees (and us) to change their hearts and behavior.

St. Augustine defines sin as incurvatus in se—that means “caved in around oneself.” To be in sin is to be “caved in” around the ego and its narrow concerns. When the Lord says, “Reform your life,” he means move from that old mind and make him the center of your life.

We must know and feel in our bones what is wrong in us; we must look it in the face and acknowledge it with uncompromising honesty. Without this journey into our own inner hell, we will not feel the compunction to shift our way of being and seeing. And we must awaken to what is godlike in us, what is rich and unbroken, what is united with the saving designs of God. Without this clear sense, we will fall into complacency and see metanoia as, at best, a cruel illusion.