Sunday, March 21, 2010

On Sin

The Gospel is the revelation in Jesus Christ of God's mercy to sinners. The angel announced to Joseph: "You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." The same is true of the Eucharist, the sacrament of redemption: "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1846

G.K. Chesterton once wrote: "The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden."

The paradoxes of being a Christian are many. Christ died so we would have life. The first shall be last. True love is giving away of your self, self denial and detachment of the things of this world brings us to the joy and eternity of the next. Sin is perhaps the greatest paradox. Christ came to save what was lost. The gift of Jesus came precisely because we are sinners, but that same gift is lost if we do not acknowledge our sinfulness. In Luke 15:6-7 Jesus said "I tell you, in heaven there will be more rejoicing over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine souls that are justified, and have no need of repentance."

There can't be repentance without sin. Thus we have the paradox of good coming out of evil. The evil of sin is a necessary prerequisite for the joy that is occasioned by repentance. The central defect of evil is not sin but the refusal to acknowledge sin.

The world denies there is sin. This secular influence has led to a belief that God's mercy is a free ticket to do whatever you desire. The definitions of what is now considered immoral has shrunk quite extensively. When the Light of the World shines on the darkness of mankind sin is fully revealed. Saints are saints not because they were devoid of sin but because they acknowledged their sinfulness. We are closing in on Holy Week, a good self examination can bring to light our sinfulness. Even sins that are not grave offenses bring pain to Our Lord. Jesus says "your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more."

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