The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

5th Week of Lent

Date: 
Mon, 03/23/2015
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

I have an idea this morning.  Something I believe will grab the attention of the public.
Something that has the potential of forcing people to do some soul searching.
In order to carry out this idea, however,
I need a willing volunteer.  One of you perhaps.  Would anyone like to volunteer?
The grade school children at this point would be out of their seats,
waving their hands, hoping to be picked,
even before I tell them what they are volunteering for.  I see you are not as gullible.
 
I need someone to be an example, someone willing to take one for the team.
My idea entails the public condemnation of sin along with the imposition
of a sentence that will bring to light the horrible consequences of sin.
Accusations will be brought against you.
A public church trial with judges and lawyers and plenty of press would ensue.
People are drawn to the spectacular like vultures to a carcass
so the sin would have to be something that by law,
warrants excommunication from the Catholic church.
So, I need a volunteer who would be willing to be excommunicated from the Church
for a greater good.
Just think, your plight might return some sinners to the fold.
 
Isn’t it true that sinners need to be reminded of their precarious standing before God?
There’s nothing like public humiliation to bring them to their knees.
We can start as soon as you get your affairs in order.
 
When it comes to sin, we rationalize and quantify: some sins are worse than others.
“My sin isn’t so bad…venial sin at best.”
This is like saying “an ounce of horse manure doesn’t smell as bad as a pound of horse manure.”
The sin of Adam and Eve is disobedience.  Not murder.  Not abortion.  Not sexual immorality.
Not idolatry.  Not heresy.  Not apostasy (renunciation of or defection from faith in God).
And yet the consequences of this “no so bad” venial sin haunts humanity to this day.
This “not so bad” sin closes the gates of heaven.
Jesus Christ comes into the world to save us from this “no so bad” sin.
 
How much sin must we commit before we are no longer in a state of grace?
To tell you the truth, I don’t know how to answer this question.
I do know:  all sin is offensive to God.  All sin is of consequence.  No sin is unimportant. 
Once we conclude some sin is trivial we imply that God’s mercy and forgiveness are trivial.
 
There is a matter in today’s gospel that unsettles me.
It seems Jesus puts the forgiven woman in an impossible predicament.
He says “do not sin anymore” implying that if she does
she might not fare as well as she did this time.
What human being cannot not sin?  Until we are sinless we have no right to condemn others.
 
There is a sign that we have received and welcomed new life from Christ.
A sign that others will readily recognize:  gratitude.
“Help us to know, O Lord, our need for your mercy and forgiveness.  Amen!”