Forsake sin

The WORD in Other Words by Fr John Seland SVD (Japan) for Monday Week 3 in Ordinary Time

In the 1960s-1970s, a black American comedian, Cleroy “Flip” Wilson, used to say: “The devil made me do it.” If a woman, for example, buys two dresses instead of one, she might excuse herself by saying, “The devil made me do it.”

Overcome by envy of Jesus’ popularity, the scribes accuse Jesus of being “possessed by Beelzebul,” claiming that “by the prince of demons he drives out demons.” Jesus counters by saying that if Satan waged war against his own agents, his kingdom would surely fall. He also says, “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” He is referring to the scribes having attributed his good deeds to the devil, not from his holiness, but from working in cahoots with Satan. Saying that someone or something good is evil is a sin against the Holy Spirit.

Jesus always encouraged people to forsake sin and change their lives. But he also made a very clear distinction between good and evil without any compromise.

Most of us are not really guilty of committing downright evil. But what about the so-called “gray areas” of life, those places where we compromise and hold back from giving ourselves completely to the Lord? We do love God, but perhaps our love becomes diluted as we become involved with this and that interest. We want to become holy, but we hesitate in giving ourselves totally. We love people, but our patience wears thin when we notice their faults.

Jesus’ love for God was total. So, too, was his love for people. This total giving of himself was a sign of his holiness. How total is our love? How holy do we really want to be?

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