This past week I was asked on two occasions to give the homily at daily Mass. I used the opportunity to reflect on the effect sin has on our ability to see the presence of God in daily life.
The readings at Mass this week have been a series of rather strongly worded admonitions on the conditions for discipleship. We heard last Sunday that we have to become detached from worldly possessions and relationships if we are to be disciples. We heard from St. Paul on Wednesday how we must put aside a whole list of vices and sins in life. Yesterday we heard Jesus tell us that unless we love our enemies, we cannot really be his disciples.
Of course throughout this week and last, we have heard from our Holy Father that we need to work for peace in our world first by cultivating peace in our own hearts by being reconciled to God through prayer, fasting and frequenting the Sacrament of Penance.
Finally, on September 11, we all recalled that dark day when terrorism struck our country.
My thoughts, then, in my weekday homilies focused on the impact sin has in our ability to see God at work in our world today. I am convinced that one of the effects of sin and lack of virtue in our lives is a clouding of our vision of the divine. Sin creates spiritual cataracts. Anyone who has suffered from cataracts of the eyes knows how difficult it can be to see clearly what is right in front of them. So too it is with our spiritual vision. Unless we root out sin, we eventually become blind to the ever present God who is so active in our world today. Unless we remove the spiritual cataracts from our lives by rooting out sin, we begin to believe that God doesn’t exist or that he is in some way responsible for the evil in our world. Unless we remove the cataracts from our souls, we can become the reason others become blind to him.
I often wonder what it would be like if all of us approached the Sacrament of Penance not with an attitude like: “Look at what I have done! God must be angry with me…. What if Father recognizes my voice?What will he think? I am so ashamed! I can’t believe I did all this!” What if we approached the sacrament with this attitude instead: “Father, I have sinned. Here is what I have done (or failed to do). I confess these sins, Father, because I want to see God!”
Wouldn’t the sacrament be much more fruitful in our lives?
So many of the psalms speak of God’s light, of being in God’s presence, of seeing God active in the course of human history. Do these psalms not speak directly to us in our lives?
Seek always to see God, who never is far from you, who never ceases to be active in today’s world. Seek reconciliation so you may see God as He is, and so you may be a light to others rather than one who obscures the spiritual vision of others.