The WORD in Other Words by Fr Atilano Corcuera SVD (Philippines)
Friday 13th Week in Ordinary Time
Gen 23:1-4, 19; 21:1-8, 62-67, Mt 9:9-13
An elderly invalid woman whose life consisted of sitting on her electric wheelchair and playing solitaire the whole day in her vast villa, was asked by her daughter if she wanted to make a confession to a visiting priest—friend. The woman beamed with delight, welcomed the priest and proclaimed, “Father, since I sat on this wheelchair seventeen years ago, | never committed any sin!”
It is sad when we start losing the sense of sin. And it would be alarming when we start considering sinful actions as not sinful. Today‘s reality bears witness to this grand deception of ourselves. Otherwise, how could we explain the big number of Catholics who receive communion regularly but do not go to confession for years? How many couples who are not married in the church, Catholics with “number two‘s or three‘s,” corrupt officials and practicing homosexuals continue to join the communion line?
People who have dulled their conscience to the reality of sin have become self-righteous and have begun living a lie. St. John is clear when he wrote, “If we say, ‘We have no sin,‘ we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1,8). People who have lost the awareness of sin do not need to go to communion at all. They have no need of salvation; no need for Christ. And it would seem that Christ has no need for them.
Paul Tournier in one of his books wrote that to be a sinner who needs redemption, one does not have to actually commit murder nor engage in blatant disobedience to God‘s commandments. One has only to realize his/her weaknesses and tendency to succumb to Satan‘s attractions. Meaning to say that given the same circumstances and conditions of criminals in jail, I could easily be one of them. This tendency and capacity to live in darkness, because of the thrill and the fascination for it, is to realize one‘s sinfulness. The good news is Someone came and announced, “I did not come for the righteous but sinners.”