Sin- that word we dread to hear – is rarely spoken about nowadays and except perhaps by some well-known, fundamentalist preachers who seem to speak of nothing else. Perhaps this hesitation to think about sin is a reaction to some Church leaders who in the past seemed obsessed with it or perhaps it flows from our contemporary culture which discourages us from seriously examining the dark side of our lives and actions. In any case sin is part of the Christian reality though not the most important part!
Sin is not a mistake or lapse in judgment but a willful choice to think or act in a way contrary to what we know is right/just. At its core sin, and all evil, is pure negativisty with no substance but rather a force which sucks life out of us. Sin is also deceptive- like a chameleon sin always pretends to be good, though its end result is always disappointment, alienation and suffering. Sin is a reality in which all of us participate s no one is perfect. However, that is not the full Christian story (as some seem to think!) but a recognition of human frailty.
The rest of the story we see in today’s reading from the Gospel of John where a woman is caught in the act of adultery and Jesus, rather than condemn her to death, forgives her and tells her to sin no more. Jesus did not discount the sin or excuse it away but forgave and encourages the sinner embrace new life. That is the rest of the Christian story! Sin is a nullity which is hauntingly attractive in its many forms but God’s grace can help us resist and when we fall God can forgive us endlessly. God’s mercy and forgiveness are available to us- if we want. That is the Christian message: God’s love and mercy triumphs over evil and human sin.
So during these waning days of Lent give thanks for God’s mercy and fearlessly face the part of our lives which need change and God’s love. Let God in ! Happy Lent!
Let us also remember in prayer and through donations the Mission Doctors who bring mercy to so many of God’s poor who suffer physically.
God bless you and Happy Lenten Journey!
Brother John Kielser, OFM