Tumbling In and Out of Sin
“If repentance is neglected for an instant, one can lose the power of the Resurrection as he lives with the weakness of tepidity and the potential of his fall.” ~ Saint John Chrysostom
If I were to ask you to name the greatest sin of our times, I imagine I would receive a fairly wide range of answers. There are many who would say abortion. The cleric abuse scandal would most likely be a popular response, or pedophilia in general; sexual crime committed against the very young is despicable regardless of the perpetrator. Euthanasia, racism, unjust war, the death penalty, our neglect and at times outright disregard for the poor, the handicapped and the mentally ill. There are of course others that would make the list as well.
But it was Pope Pius XII, in a Radio Message to the Participants in the National Catechetical Congress of the United States in Boston in October of 1946, that said none of these sins would rate as the greatest sin of our time. Pius XII explained that the greatest sin of our time is that we have lost the sense of sin. It is through this loss of the sense of sin that abortion morphs into “reproductive healthcare,” and anyone who defends the rights of the unborn is vilified and shouted down as a hater of women, sometimes even a Nazi. In their recent style guide for writers, the AP has instructed those who report for them to use the term “anti-choice” when speaking of someone who is an opponent of abortion. “Pro-life” is no longer an acceptable term and will be edited out of any and all reports or articles that contain it.
It is through this loss of the sense of sin that child predators who hold high ranking positions in the organizations and societies in which they pay out hush money to their victims while being quietly shuffled into an “administrative position.”
It is through this loss of the sense of sin that our media manipulates the narrative, following the money and the ratings, so as to protect those they favor. Has anyone gotten an update on the list of high ranking politicians and Hollywood celebrities who had clear cut and nefarious ties to Jeffrey Epstein and his child sex slave ring since his reported suicide? Me neither.
In today’s 1st Reading however, (Baruch 1:15-22), the exiles from Babylonia suffer no such lack of self-awareness when it came to the topic of misdeeds and sin. It was in this passage that they essentially spilled their guts “Justice is with the Lord, our God; and we today are flushed with shame, we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem, that we, with our kings and rulers and priests and prophets, and with our ancestors, have sinned in the Lord's sight and disobeyed him. We have neither heeded the voice of the Lord, our God, nor followed the precepts which the Lord set before us.” Could you imagine such a public confession in the blame game culture we live in today? Not likely.
Our Gospel today (Luke 10:13-16) underscores the fact that final judgement is undoubtedly our fate. We must always, always remember that. "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes." This passage underscores just how important Jesus views the act of repentance, the sort of repentance on display in our earlier aforementioned 1st Reading. It’s a big deal.
It has so often been said that the Catholic Church is not a museum for saints, but instead a hospital for sinners. Repentance, proclaiming the Lord’s impending return and subsequently glorifying him is our threefold mission.
...and for the love of God, we must have the courage to call sin what it is....
I’d like to close today’s reflection with a prayer in honor of Saint Francis, whose Feast Day we celebrate today. If anyone were to think that one person cannot dramatically impact the renewal and reform of the Church, they only need to look towards a Saint Francis or a Saint Dominic, or a Saint Therese of Lisieux https://discover.hubpages.com/literature/The-Marvelous-Intercession-of-Saint-Therese-and-Her-Little-Way, whose Feast Day kicked off a week that also included the Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels https://discover.hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Daily-Mass-Reflections-102. So in honor of one of the most renowned and beloved Saints of our Church, let us offer up a prayer for our animals of whom Saint Francis is the Patron, for I know many of you have pets:
“Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. On the fifth and sixth days of creation you called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air, and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all animals his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless all animals. By the power of your love, enable them to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures.” ~ Amen.