Recognizing and Dealing with Sin
“For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice”
Today’s readings: Hos 6:1-6; Ps 51:3-21; Luke 18:9-14
God is not interested in outward manifestations of righteousness that are not grounded on love for Him and on knowledge of His ways. “For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than holocausts.” (Hos 6:6). We may be thinking we are serving God but might actually be just serving ourselves. Are we motivated by position, power, fame, acclaim, influence? Do we use the wisdom of the world and secular ways?
We may bring LCSC to all the parishes in the nation and have CLS graduates in the thousands, but if all these are not the product of our love for God, then even as these accomplishments do actually help many, our posture is not pleasing to God.
On the other hand, if we truly loved God and walked in His ways, then our work would be tremendously blessed by Him, and the tremendous results would be forthcoming. When God blesses us because our hearts are in the right place, then He will also use us to be a blessing to others.
Since God is pure and holy, we as a covenant people also need to be pure and holy.
We start by acknowledging that we are all sinners. “True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.” (Ps 51:7). We all fall short of God’s expectations. We all have our infidelities, however seemingly small. If we feel we have nothing to lament about, then we are not seeing our situation the way God sees it.
Then we realize that when we sin, it is God we sin against. “Against you alone have I sinned” (Ps 51:6a). When we slander someone, when we act unjustly toward another, when we inflict emotional or physical harm on another, we do sin against them, but more fundamentally, we sin against God. We grieve the heart of God, who loves us all, and who wants nothing more than to have us reflect His own image and likeness by the way we love others.
Then we realize how evil sin is. “I have done such evil in your sight” (Ps 51:6b). Given that it is a sin against a holy and perfect God, then any sin is evil in His sight. Any infidelity to our covenant, any transgression of our relationship with God, is an abomination to Him.
As we realize our sin, as we ask for a clean heart and humble spirit, we then look to the reasons why God raised us and called us to Himself. We are to grow in holiness, and we are to be used as His instruments to mainstream Catholic lay evangelization. We are to look to God as our very life and as our all, and we are to proclaim Him and His salvation to many others. “Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise. ….. I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.” (Ps 51:17,15).
Given these realizations, we humble ourselves and seek sincerity of heart, so that we might know God’s ways and learn God’s wisdom (Ps 51:8).
Reflection/action: Examine why you are serving God in LCSC. Repent of any ways that you are actually just serving yourself. “Come, let us return to the Lord, for it is he who has rent, but he will heal us; he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds.” (Hos 6:1). Then ask God for a clean heart and a broken, humbled spirit.
Prayer: “Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense. Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me. ….. you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom. Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow. Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. ….. A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit. Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit. Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit. ….. My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.” (Ps 51:3-4,8-10,12-14,19). Amen.
God bless you all.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)