This Lent, don’t let sin win

| Father Charles Lachowitzer | February 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

During this time when Pope Francis and the bishops of the Church seek reparation, reconciliation, and healing within the victim and survivor communities of those sexually abused by priests, we humbly recognize that this reparation, reconciliation and healing are needed in our parish communities as well.

Father Charles Lachowitzer

Father Charles Lachowitzer

I offer my gratitude to God for the resilient faithful. These members of our parishes know the enduring grace of unity in the sacramental life of the Church. At the same time, I pray each day for those who have experienced a painful tear in some of our relationships with one another. For many people, there is a disturbed trust and a heavy disappointment with the leadership of the Church.

We all want healthy, holy and happy priests. We all want to be healthy, holy and happy people. We all want parishes where there is mutual admiration between the priests and the people. We all want parishes that are dynamic in unity and vibrant with good works. Yet we also know, all too painfully well, that there are saboteurs.

The power of sin and the forces of evil define us differently than God created us. They divide us against one another. They destroy trust to unravel the bonds that hold us together. If any adjective in front of the word “human being” makes us worth less, then sin has won.

The cry for justice is belied and betrayed when innocent people are harmed. Likewise, no true defense of the true faith is without the virtue of charity. If with deep-seated anger and vengeance, we are yet another voice in the chorus of bad news, then sin wins. If we are so critical that we are mean-spirited, then sin wins. If we are just another messenger who points to every disappointment as a reason to justify distrust and division, then sin wins.

As we prepare for the Lenten season, it should give us pause to remember that every time we give something else a greater power than God, we are blaspheming. When we let sin win, we live in the world of our own making and not in the world God created. It is a Lenten exercise to ask ourselves, “Where have I let sin win? Where do I need a love greater than the sin?”

The path to reconciliation and unity as a Church is not a path of amnesia. Forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgiveness is when the very power of Christ’s love is greater than the sin. Each and every time we look to the cross, we are seeing the love that is bigger than the sin.

Restoration and renewal happen when sin loses. Sin loses when our love for one another is bigger than all hurt, anger and division. Sin loses when the mystical body of Christ is so much greater than any human institution. Sin loses when we go to Communion and are in communion with the Church throughout the world. Sin loses when we are sisters and brothers in one family. In the flotilla of the faithful, sin loses when there are no passengers, just crew members.

When sin loses, the apostolate of the laity flourishes with the visible transformation of lived Gospel values, good works and a studied understanding of the teachings of the Church. Sin loses when people seek out a sense of belonging and find in our parish communities a family united in faith.

The power of sin and all the forces of evil contained therein are defeated when we celebrate the Eucharist. In the person and real presence of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit elevates us above and beyond all of this world’s hurts, pains, divisions, disappointments and disillusionments. Otherwise the Church would have not survived the Apostolic Age.

It is in a parish where the healing powers of Christ call forth a reconciling community. It is in a parish where we experience the Church as one, holy, Catholic and apostolic. If we cannot rise above the power of sin and the forces of evil to overcome the wrath of division, then how do we expect that we can rise above the grave?

The devil may have won on Good Friday. It is still a disturbingly violent and divided world. But the devil lost once and for all time, for all people, on Easter Sunday. The victory of the Risen Christ over all sin and even death itself is the power of the greater love.

We are called as his disciples to step out of the Good Friday world and, by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, practice the greater love of an Easter people.

Esta Cuaresma, no dejes que pecado gane

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Category: Only Jesus