Yesterday we began a difficult but necessary process to confront the depravities of our heart. We took a deeper look at sins of the flesh. Today, we take the next step in our three-fold concupiscence: the world.
We aspire to see how the “sins of the world” affect our hearts, our freedom and our holy desires. In a case where a heart is bound to the world, the holy desires that God places in our hearts are choked, suffocated and squeezed out by the world. At best, there is no longer any time for God and the desires of our hearts.
We again recall the parable of the Sower and the Seed, this time relating to the seed that fell upon the thorny path, “and the thorns grew up and choked them” (Matthew 13:7). Christ himself gives us the interpretation, “As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22).
Let us now enter into our second examination of conscience according to sins of the world. Be honest and authentic. Once again, no fronts or masks. Keep in mind that God already knows your heart as well as all the answers.
Do I give the first fruits of my income to the Church and/or charity?
Do I spend more money on all forms of entertainment combined than I give to charity?
Do I participate in gossip?
Do I miss dinner more than 2 nights/week because of work?
Do I work on Sunday?
Have I stolen anything – including expense report and income taxes (past, recent)?
Do my conversations typically revolve around business, sports and news events?
Do I attempt to remain constantly up-to-date on news events?
Do I spend more time on the media than on my spiritual life?
Do I have friendships or business activities that lead me into sin or inappropriate behaviors?
Do I envy or experience jealousy regarding the ability, talents, ideas, good-looks, intelligence, clothes, possessions, money, friends, family, of others?
Am I saddened or frustrated at the success of others?
Do I judge others in my thoughts, words or actions?
Do I damage the reputation of others by my words or actions?
Do I fail to defend the reputation of others?
Are sins of the world your Pharaoh? Is it just one or both within this section: greed, envy? If you have discovered your Pharaoh, your source of bondage, name it. Renounce it. Plan to get to confession and begin the process of freedom.
We learned yesterday to never hide from the Lord. Jesus Christ, the new Adam, entered fully into our human condition and took on the sins of the world. He carried every sin to the heart of the Father. He bore our suffering, our shame, our guilt, and nailed them to the Cross. He embraced the Cross for our salvation. Clothed with sins of the world, Christ didn’t hide from the face of God.
In fact, he did the exact opposite of Adam, “...there was darkness over the whole land...while the sun’s light failed...Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last” (Luke 23:44-46).
If Jesus taught us anything it’s that the Father’s mercy is infinite, it’s limitless. His mercy is unfathomable to the point of scandal. The scandal of the Cross is that Christ died and rose from EVERY sin ever committed in human history. That’s right, all of them! Even the absolute darkest characters and most heinous sins ever committed. The grace of the Cross is sufficient; the victory is won. He has already paid the price. We learn what it means to enter into and claim that victory so that we may die and rise to new life with him. And that is exactly what we will set out to do.
We end today as we did yesterday, listening for the Lord calling in our hearts:
“Where are you? Where is your heart? I love you. I am close to you even in your sin. You may run and hide from me but I will never run from you. You may be weary of your sinfulness but I will never grow weary. You may be lost but you can be found. You may be blind but I can give you new sight. Your heart may be wounded but I have come to heal and restore. I have already taken your sin and shame and obliterated it. I have come to set your heart free. I have come to give you a new heart. I have come to give you my heart. My light will shine through your wounds. Will you trust me? Will you enter into my heart? Do you love me?”