Fr. Lara's Lines
Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
WWhat Is Sin?
Sin could be understood as the absence of good
since the negative way to understand a concept is
to look into what it is not. For instance, evil is the
absence of good or peace the absence of war.
So, sin could be the absence of good. It is action
that leads us into something that is against divine
law. The missing part is a right relationship with
God. Sin is ignoring our true selves in the presence
of the divine.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right
conscience; it is failure of genuine love for God,
neighbor, or ourselves. This offense is expressed
through words, actions, or desires that are contrary
to the eternal law of God. In the Ten Commandments,
we are made aware of the different ways we can
commit these offenses. For instance, when we utter
words that offend our father, mother, or any other
person, we are going contrary to the divine law
(fourth commandment); or when we judge, gossip,
or bear false witness against someone else, we go
against the love of God (eighth commandment).
Taking someone else’s possessions makes us go
against God’s will, which will be consider a sin
(seventh commandment). Coveting our neighbor’s
goods leads us into temptation (tenth commandment).
So, sin is expressed through harmful words, actions,
or desires that go contrary to the love of God,
Sin is also rejecting a relationship with God.
Holiness is union with the divine. Holiness happens
when a person recognizes their place before God.
It is a right relationship that takes place between
God and people. When sin appears in the picture,
the person hides away from God. It is out of shame
or fear that the sinner stays away from the presence
of God. In the book of Genesis, we hear how Adam
and Eve, after they disobeyed God, hid from the
presence of God. It is the immediate response since
the relationship is broken. So, sin is the rupture of
the relationship with God that we are meant to have.
How Do We Deal With Sin?
The answer to this question is very simple--humility.
We cannot rebuild our relationship with God without
humility or the ability to recognize who we are in
God’s presence. Confession is the perfect way to
reconcile ourselves with God when grievous sins are
committed. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a
special time for us to experience the mercy of God
in our lives. Restoring our relationship with God
happens when we examine our conscience, are
sincerely sorry for our sins, confess what we have
done, resolve to amend our life, and do the penance
assigned to us.
In this weekend’s gospel, Jesus gives us a practical
example of how to deal with sin. “If your hand
causes you to sin, cut it off… if your foot causes you
to sin, cut if off… and if your eye causes you to sin,
pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom
of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown
into Gehenna.” Jesus might sound harsh when saying
this to his disciples. Jesus is trying to make a point;
he is not telling the disciples to mutilate themselves
but to get rid of the causes of sin. These words from
Jesus need to be integrated into our daily lives.
What is causing you to sin? What are the habits you
have that need to be redirected? What are some
of the desires you have that need to be dealt with?
Jesus is asking us to get rid of all those things that
may cause us to sin. Our goal is to live free from
sin. Temptations will always exist in a fallen world,
but we have the ability to resist the temptations we
face in our daily lives. What is causing you to sin?
Jesus would say to you, get rid of it for it is better
for you to live without it than to have a broken
relationship with God.
Last week we celebrated our first Family Mass of
the year. The Church is about building community
and sharing the love of God with others, especially
with children and youth. We want families to worship
together at Mass and create social connections that
will nourish our spiritual and social lives. I thank
Tracy Licudine and so many other parents and
parishioners whose efforts are making this possible.
We look forward to the next Family Mass.
Live the Liturgy
Who are the little ones? They are the
many and varied faces of people who
see hope in Jesus’ message about the Kingdom
of God. They have come to believe that there
is a different world to be had: a place where
everyone has a home, all have equal opportunity
to share in God’s bountiful gifts and blessings,
where justice reigns, truth presides, and peace
fills hearts. The little ones are those who may
have left their former views behind, perhaps
even their former lives to follow Jesus and believe
in the Beatitudes as God’s world vision. They are
the poor, the marginalized, the women and men
at the well, people like Zacchaeus looking for
Jesus from a tree, the blind who want to see, and
the lame who want to walk. They are the lepers
who have been told that they are unclean, and
the ones who have learned that suffering and
death are nothing to fear. These are all of the
little ones. Jesus gathers and protects them as a
shepherd guards his sheep. Whoever causes one
of these little ones to sin deserves the greatest
wrath. Be more concerned about what people
are doing than where they came from.