God’s choices are often surprising to us, and we might even be tempted to say: incomprehensible! For in today’s gospel we hear about someone who, no doubt having heard of the power of Jesus’ name, uses this strength and power to cast out demons, but without belonging to the group of disciples that the Lord had called to himself.
This word of the Lord is precious for our everyday life: “He that is not against us is for us.” When someone does not manifest hostility toward Christ’s faithful, how could we judge his intention toward us? God alone knows the depths of our heart, and all of the thoughts of men! Who could say that the Lord had not given such and such a person the gift of his grace in order that this same person might love him in his heart? God is free, at all times and in all things!
Certainly, this is beyond us: we do not understand how it could be possible for such a person to serve God as we do, yet without belonging to our ecclesial community. We are quickly tempted, like the disciples, to forbid him to cast out demons and propagate the kingdom of God. If someone does not exteriorly belong to our group, then he cannot be a faithful servant of God. And yet this person will manifest a real gesture of communion. But this gesture will not be one that openly testifies to his religious membership in the Church of Christ; it will be but a simple human gesture: “Whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward.”
So we can see that the evil might come from within an ecclesial community, or might come from a convent of the monks or from a Catholic family. In this case, let us see and reflect about the origin of the sin. Where is the source of the sin? It is in the world? It is in the heart of a man? Or it comes from the Law? Let us see it.
” «Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.» ”
These verses continue from last week’s Gospel. Jesus is still holding a child in His arms and refers to this little person as He makes a wisdom statement. Those who are with us cannot be against us. The more important thing is to live the holy life of reflecting the love of God and thereby not spreading the plague of sin to others. Holding the child, Jesus, as did Moses, wishes all to live in such a way as not to cause even this child to know what sin is. This is a stronger way to drive out the evil spirit in Christ’s name.
The final verses are a strong condemnation of those who cause sin to flourish and so infect others. They would be better not to have had a beginning than to experience the endings of their lives in torment and for ever.
There is a cute little theory that sin is spread genetically. At the moment of conception, when human life begins, that life is tilting a bit toward what we call “sin”. You might say that we don’t have a chance. It is one of many thoughts. It is true that we have to spend years learning to be virtuous. So we are born into and live our days in the tension between being “with” Jesus and being “against”. The real sin which gains such condemnation by Jesus is that of causing others to tilt even more toward being “against”.
But what is sin? From where sin comes? For our understanding let us take the letter of Saint Paul Chapter Seven verses seven to twelve.
7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
7:10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
In these words of Saint Paul, we come to know that sin not comes from the law or the commandment. The law is holy, just and good….. For some reason we may think that sin comes through the Law. In the other words, the Law is the reason for people to know what the sin is. Yes, it is right. Because, before the Law or in the Hebrew called TORAH, people didn’t know that killing someone is sin or commit adultery is sin or robbery is sin. Torah comes to open the mind of the people to see that all immoral actions are sin; the Ten Commandments could speak what the sins are. And what Paul says? Paul says that he is death by that Law. The Law made him suffers much, he can do nothing. Than, what is the door for Paul to feel free, to live freely in his faith to God? Only one way, and that way is Jesus Christ. Jesus came and frees us from the prison of the Law. Jesus come to free us and free us totally that we may walk with joy to the eternal salvation. So the question for us is where comes sin? Sin comes from our hearts, if we are away from God. But it doesn’t mean that human being is the origin of sin. No… sin comes where ever it wants. He comes to the hearts when we are not prepared, when we forget to pray, when we forget to love. Sin in like a roaring lion eager to swallow us. For that, holy bible told us that do not lose our hope. Be ready always; be prepared with the arms of God that are prayers and his holy words and his holy sacraments.
Where sin comes? Sin comes from our selfish hearts and we blamed Adam, we blamed our parents, we blamed other persons that are not as important. Sin is like this “Swine Flu” going around the world? Sin is different, sin is more dangerous. Sin tilts us toward the selfishness and violence.
Let us pray that the Lord keep us from all sin and evil. Amen.
Prepared by Fr. John Lebe Wuwur, OCD
for the Sunday´s preaching (26th Sunday of Ordinary Time)
in St. Teresa Church
50 -20 45 St
Woodside Queens – New York
United States of America