8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – Homily

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Sirach 27:4-7
Psalm 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16 (see 2a)
1 Corinthians 15:54-58
Luke 6:39-45
March 3, 2019

Can a blind person guide a blind person?”  If they try, they may “both fall into a pit.”  If a blind person went walking down Main Street when the construction is going on, they might end up in a trench.  The blind person needs someone to tell them what they are getting into. 

Of course, Jesus is referring to more than just physical blindness.  When we face moral choices in our lives, how well do we know what our faith teaches and why so that we can apply it to whatever situations we face.

Do we even know what sin is?  People don’t take about sin much anymore.  Some because they want to downplay, or even hide, their own sins.  Others say who are we to judge?  They say we shouldn’t force our values on others. 

They would take Jesus’ words, “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?” to support their position of not talking about the sin of others.  However, Jesus does not say to never “remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.” 

No, Jesus’ point is that we need to “Remove the wooden beam from your own eye FIRST.” 

We need to acknowledge and address our own sins first and then help our “brothers” with their sins.  This gives us creditability instead of being hypocrites. 

If we try to talk about the sins of others without first addressing our own brings to mind the saying, “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Are you aware of your own sins?  If you are, are you trying to correct them, or do you make excuses why it isn’t that bad?  If you aren’t conscience of any sin, is it because you are able to resist sin, or do you just not recognize it?  Or do you ignore it?

The thing is, even if you fail to see your own sins or fail to correct them, there may be someone else who does see your sins and sees you ignore them.  They see you as the hypocrite when you “complain” about the sins of others.  Then, again, we are left without creditability. 

This can be true for us as individuals.  Unfortunately, it is also true for us as a church right now.  There were perpetuators who committed the terrible sin of child sex abuse.  There is no excuse for this.  If it has happened to you or someone you know, I don’t know what to say except that I am sorry and pray that you receive any help you need.

If these sins weren’t bad enough, there follows the sin of the coverup.  Rather than confront the problem, it was hidden.  Unfortunately, there were cases where the priest was able to continue in their sin because of the church falling short of dealing with the problem.

If you shake the sieve long enough, “the husks appear.”  So, it is with our sins individually and collectively.  Sooner or later it comes to the surface.

Now, as a result of the coverup, there are those who don’t want to listen to the church because the church’s failure to respond appropriately damaged or shattered its moral creditability.  Sin has its consequences.

As a church, we need to address the past actions of our leaders.  This is very difficult.  People have been hurt and suffered.  There is no way to undo what has happened.  When the scandal broke in 2002, the new “charter” was issued as a huge positive step forward.  However, we have learned in the past year it was not enough.  There is still work to be done. 

We need to pray for the innocent victims of clergy abuse.  We need to pray for the faith of the people affected.  We need to pray for the purification of the church and the renewal of the clergy.  We need to pray that we all get back to seeing the Lord as the true moral authority.  There is “truth.”  (Next week, I will be doing a presentation about where we go for truth.) 

Jesus is the way and the truth and the life.  We need to seek this truth.  We need to ask God to lift the blindness from our souls so that we might see our sins and deal with them.

The church has its share of the blame to carry, not just because of the coverup of abuse by clergy.  We have fallen short of helping our people understand not just what our faith teaches but why.  Without this, we do not give people what they need to make good moral decisions.

Who do you go to for answers about faith and morals?  Why?  Do you make sure it isn’t someone who is spiritually blind? 

For instance, think of the role of godparents.  I think many parents see picking godparents as a way of honoring the person.  It is but that is not the purpose.  As much as being chosen a godparent can bestow an honor, even more so it bestows a duty.  A godparent’s duty is to help their godchild grow in faith.  That’s why our Church says the godparent must be baptized, confirmed, and actively practicing their faith.  If they are not living their faith, how can they help their godchild to?

Is there some sin in your life that God is calling you to work on for Lent this year?  Are you praying for our institutional church to be purified and restored to serve as God directs? Let us pray for healing of all sins and a return to the fullness of faith.

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