The Word of God this weekend speaks to us of the moral evil against which we wage a lifelong struggle: sin. The First Reading illustrates the effect in the sinner of original sin and all sins since: guilt, whose realization produces shame. From there relationships break down because no one wants to accept responsibility for sin: the man blames the woman; the woman blames the serpent. The man would even suggest that God bears some responsibility for the sin because of “the woman whom you put here with me.” Then in the Gospel the scribes from Jerusalem, and the Pharisees mentioned in previous verses, who have set their minds against Jesus and want to put him to death (cf. Mark 3:6) accuse him of being in league with Beelzebul or Satan. Jesus’ response points out the fundamental fallacy of that judgment: “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” That is exactly what sin does: it undermines the relationships that are fundamental to human society, beginning with one’s relationship to God, then to one’s family, then to one’s neighbor, and to truth itself. In the extreme sins leads to the collapse of a just social order.
Often a person in the grip of sin may not realize where it is leading until he is “in too deep.” This is where today’s psalmist found himself when he said, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.” From there he realized there was only one place to turn, as expressed in the refrain: “With the LORD there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.” What this brings to mind is God’s invitation to a sinful nation, which can also be applied to individuals: “Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. Come now, let us set things right says the LORD: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; Though they be red like crimson, they may become white as wool.” (Isaiah 1:16-18) This is for us an invitation for reconciliation through the Sacrament of Penance, the fruit of the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Convinced of God’s generous mercy, Saint Paul writes in the Second Reading: “Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God. Therefore, we are not discouraged.”
June 30 marks the end of our fiscal year. While both parishes have met our goals for the Diocesan Annual Appeal, both are coming up short in regular envelope income. School subsidies, insurance and some necessary repairs strain our budgets. Any special end-of the-year contributions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your generous support of our parishes.
Pray the rosary this week for people who are seriously ill, for good weather for the growing season and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.