Sir 15:15-20; 1Cor 2:6-10;Matt 5:17-37 (5:20-37)
Two sinners visited a holy man and asked his advice. “We have done wrong,” they said, “And our consciences are troubled. What must we do to be forgiven?”
“Tell me of your wrongdoing, my sons,” said the holy man. The first man said, “I committed a great and grievous sin.” The second man said: “I have done some small things, nothing much to worry about.”
“Okay, go and bring me a stone for each sin,” said the holy man. The first man came back with a BIG STONE. The second man brought a bag of small stones. “Now”, said the holy man, “Go and put them back where you found them.” The first man lifted the rock and struggled back to the place where he had gotten it. The second man could not remember where half of the stones belonged, so he gave up, it was too much like work.
“Sins are like these stones,” said the holy man. “If a man commits a great sin, it is like a heavy stone on his conscience, but with true sorrow, it is removed completely. But the man, who is constantly committing small sins which he knows to be wrong, gets hardened to them and feels no sorrow. So he remains a sinner,” continued the holy man.
‘So you see my sons, it is important to avoid little sins so well as big ones. Big sins and little sins are the same. They are still sins.”
Our gospel today is still part of the Sermon of the Mount by Jesus. Sermon of the Mount some says is a summary of His teachings. This is the third Sunday in a series of six that we read from this sermon which we can found in chapter 5, 6 and 7 of Saint Matthew’s gospel. Today’s passage from chapter 5 highlights our internal thoughts and desires and stresses their moral consequences for good and evil.
Jesus clearly teaches us that sins are committed in the human mind if one has the definite intention of doing wrong even if the decision is not acted on. If we hate someone so bitterly that we want to kill him or her, Jesus says that we are guilty of murder – it is called murder by intention. It is the same with adultery. Even if you say that you are never been unfaithful to your wife if you lust for another in your heart, you are still committing the sin though it is in the heart. It is because as it is stated in the penitential rite of the Mass: “…that I have sinned through my own fault. In my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.” So, it is very clear.
In the Bible, the heart is not just the seat of man’s affections and emotions: it stands for the entire person. It is where a person’s personality and activity emanate. “It is from within, from men’s hearts,” Jesus declares, “that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride and folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean,” (Mark 7:21-23).
What is the meaning of sin? According to Catholic catechism, “it is an offense against or disobedience to God’s commandments; preferring to do our will rather than the will of God.” But for me, the best definition of sin is a rejection of the unconditional love of God to us. So, we don’t like to be loved by God, it’s old-fashioned.
According to a certain writer that there are 700 different types of sins but it can be summarize into three. First is sin of disobedience and rebellion. Just what happened to Adam and Eve. God told them not to eat of the fruit but they ate it. I call it “the sin of I don’t like.” There are many things that we should but we don’t like, we rebel and do what we want to instead of what we should do simple because we are proud and stubborn. We think we know better.
Second is sin of brother against brother. Just like Cain, he killed Abel because he was jealous. I call this sin the sin of “I hate you.” We don’t usually kill our brother, but our hatred of brothers and sisters and friends is almost as deadly. We carry a lot of hatred and jealousy and prejudice in our hearts.
Last is the sin of pride. It is like the story of Tower of Babel in the Old Testament. The people wanted to build a tower that would reach to heaven but God punished them. God’s punishment was that they would no longer understand each other. Their pride destroyed communication among them. How true is it in our lives? Nobody wants to talk with proud people. Their pride destroys lives. Their pride destroys friendship. It ruins love because pride is self-centered and love and communication is other-centered. It’s hard to love us when we are always talking about ourselves. The most lovable people sometimes are the ones who just listen.
Christ is the real Son of living God. He follows the Father’s will by nailing on the cross because of his great love for us and because of our sins. This love is a living testimony of God’s to humankind.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle A