It is a phrase we use often, sometimes in the most casual way when we bump into someone at the grocery store or when we overlook someone or something that should have received our attention. Sometimes it is just a courtesy and at times it is a statement made with emotion that expresses a true sense of remorse that something happened that caused hurt or offense and we had a part in that something.
In our Catholic culture, we grew up with a sense of what sin is and we called it an offense against God. Yet most of us focus on the act, choice, or whatever the situation is as itself sinful – that is, in and of itself contains an element of sin. For example, if I long to have an apple from the market and I steal the piece of fruit, the action is wrong and violates the law, both the law of God and society. When I say I am sorry for stealing the fruit and apologize to the owner of the market, one part of the offense is the taking of the apple. Yet it is likely that the store owner may feel victimized, taken advantage of, not respected, and his trust in people coming into his store may be diminished.
Offensive behavior, choices that are inconsiderate, selfish, and hurtful to another may be less about the inappropriate action and much more about the true consequences of the act. So to carry this a bit further, I am not sure God particularly cares just who eats that apple but is very caring about someone who has been adversely affected for it.
All of us sin – without exception. In our society, where personal freedom is excessive, it may seem more difficult to accept this, we are so easily prone to excuse ourselves from having responsibility for another. Yet it seems that God has placed us here to live and die in communities dependent on one another. The singular command of Jesus is for us to Love one another as He has loved us – a pretty high standard!
Soon we will have the great joy of celebrating Christmas once again. In preparation for this mystical event, I offer each of you a gift – one hour for quiet, prayer and a chance for individual confession on this Thursday evening, December 19 at 7PM. Please join us and take some time to “Prepare the way of the Lord”- as the central theme of Advent invites us to do.
Our choice to “repent” as John the Baptist urges, is to say “I’m Sorry” for the actions and non-actions in my life that have been harmful to myself, to others, and to God, and to personally experience the immensity of God’s mercy and love. From this fresh experience, we can look to Bethlehem and see with even greater clarity the mystery of God among us and of being born anew in our hearts.
December 15 ~ Third Sunday of Advent Gaudete Sunday
Today’s second reading from the letter of Saint James is four verses that are packed with meaning and encouragement. The words “patient” or “patience” appear four times.
The world will tell us that time is running out, so BUY NOW!
The Church is telling us that Jesus will come whether the shopping is done or not, so patience! This week try to build in five minutes of quiet time each day to remember a loved one in prayer.
That’s a gift we can all use, and it is priceless!