October 25, 2019 – Friday 29th Week in Ordinary Time
A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (7:18-25a)
Brothers and sisters:
I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh.
The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not.
For I do not do the good I want,
but I do the evil I do not want.
Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it,
but sin that dwells in me.
So, then, I discover the principle
that when I want to do right, evil is at hand.
For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self,
but I see in my members another principle
at war with the law of my mind,
taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
Miserable one that I am!
Who will deliver me from this mortal body?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (12:54-59)
Jesus said to the crowds,
“When you see a cloud rising in the west
you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does;
and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south
you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is.
You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky;
why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate,
make an effort to settle the matter on the way;
otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge,
and the judge hand you over to the constable,
and the constable throw you into prison.
I say to you, you will not be released
until you have paid the last penny.”
A friend came to me because he was so troubled and felt guilty about himself. He kept repeating the same sin again and again. Even though he knew already that it was a sin, but, he felt helpless and fell into the same sin.
Thus, when it becomes regular, then, certainly, we have developed it into a habit. Once it becomes a habit, it also becomes a cycle. And when this happens, it also becomes part of our unconscious actions.
St Paul in his letter to the Romans admitted his own weakness. He recognized his human tendency to sin, to go against what God desires and to rather succumb to what he only desired for selfish reasons. His tendency to be selfish was quite strong as he too admitted his struggle on this. However, he realized that this selfish tendencies in him was not the totality of his being. In himself, he recognized the spirit of God in Him.
This spirit of God delivers him and guides him to let go of his selfish desires and to welcome and consciously aspire God’s desires for him. This spirit of God is not guilt that will only haunt us for the wrong that he have done. No, guilt is not of God. Guilt or guilt feeling is merely a symptom of sin. Guilt does not desire change neither conversion nor recognition of God. Guilt will only haunt us of the evil we have done to condemn us and separate us from God’s mercy.
Thus, never confused guilt with true sorrow for sin. Lingering into guilt will only make us hopeless and without any resolve into conversion. For that reason, never wonder why in mere feeling guilty, we still fall into sin or into the same sin again and again.
In this way, Jesus calls us into true sorrow. Jesus in our Gospel today points this out to us. For us to arrive into true sorrow for sins, we need to be able to understand our present times, our present context, our present struggles. This is the sign of grace that Jesus wants us to realize.
Remember, in the same letter of Paul, he also told us that where sin increases, grace abounds all the more. Hence, beginning from our honest and humble recognition of our present reality, we also recognize the moments of grace where God invites us to trust him.
When sin becomes a habit or a repetitious action, do not dwell so much on guilt but rather recognize also its root. This is an invitation to look deeper into that emptiness that we are trying to fill in through that sin.
Take for example, “lying.”
We lie to people even to those who are close to us because we hide something. We lie because of fear or shame. In that way, we become pretentious and become someone we are not. This happens when lying becomes a habit or a lifestyle. The sign of grace is when we become conscious of what we have been doing unconsciously.
Certainly, there will be people or even events in our life that will help or lead us in making ourselves aware what is wrong with us. This is also a sign of grace because this is an opportunity for us to allow the Lord to forgive us and transform us. St Paul recognized this, that is why he too expressed his gratitude to Jesus for disturbing him.
Consequently, allow the spirit to make us aware of our own realities and to be able to understand ourselves and the movement of sin and evil within us. Allow also the spirit of God to disturb us, not to merely feel guilty, but to feel sorry and to commit in aspiring God’s desires for us that will make us free and truthful persons. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR