November 3, 2016
(St. Martin de Porres, Religious)
Jesus said, “. . . there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” Lk_15:1-10
If you ever stuck your finger in a light socket, if you ever lost everything you owned through a fire or a flood, you’ve learned that you never want to do or go through that again. A light socket and electricity are easy ones to just stay away from. And a fire, well, we can make sure we have cleaned up anything in our homes that could possibly cause one, while also handling matches and candles with care. A flood is a little more difficult. The best we can do to avoid that is to move to higher ground.
The key is never wanting to go through those situations again, because the experience was painful.
But what about sin? Sin isn’t always, obviously painful. As a matter of fact most of the time we sin because it either satisfies some internal need (lying, cheating, stealing, even killing as vengeance or self-protection), or it’s just fun and enjoyable (teasing, not listening to advice, boasting, gossiping (which derive from greed or self-centeredness). Seems, it’s a lot harder to never want to do those things again, just because the Church says it’s a sin.
Well the Church through thousands of years of experience has learned that sins DO cause pain as well. But the pain may come much later, in our own guilt, or in the hurt that it does to others and even to all of society. Sometimes, it’s just one of those things we have to have faith in our Church about. And when we do commit those sins and ask forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it’s important that there is repentance. Just like the shock or the burn or the near drowning or the loss of possessions, we need to promise From Our Hearts that we will never again want to commit that sin. The reward for that repentance, as Jesus said, is a thunderous applause in heaven. Can you just hear it, walking out of that confessional!
And to keep that promise of staying pure, we have Jesus and the Holy Spirit to always protect and guide us in ways that are right and not wrong. Just as a parent wants to protect their children from physical harm in their youth, God wants to protect us from spiritual harm throughout our lives. But it’s always our own choice. Prayer before those choices helps, and God will always see us through, because of His great love for us!
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