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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, March 23, 2016
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A sense of sin


Today marks the start of the days when the Catholic Church focuses on the passion, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Palm Sunday opened the Holy Week with chants of praise to God but today is traditionally known as Tinieblas , a Spanish word which means “darkness”.

The Gospel narrates the betrayal of Jesus by the kiss of Judas Escariot. In Tinieblas practice the lights are shut off and the church is plunged into darknesswhen Judas kisses Jesus. The congregation shouts to mimic the tumult of the crowd on the arrest of Jesus.

The drama of this betrayal is replete with meaning and message for all. Jesus Christ came to this world because of sin and to save us from ourselves for “all have sinned.” The entire message of Lent is repentance, return to God and atonement for sins.

Unfortunately modernism has turned many to trivialize and even to reject the idea of sin and its consequence - hell. We have already lost the sense that our actions are in reality sin that leads to hell.

Frs. Felix Pasquin, Narciso de la Cruz and Deogracias Camon gave a recollection to the Negros media last Saturday and there Fr. Camon spoke of the changed view of sin. He said that post-modern thought use emotion rather than reason as basis for belief.Post-modern man anchors his belief on what satisfieshim, what he feels is good.

Fr. Camon emphasized that we measure what is right on what we feel rather than what reason tells us. To the post-modern person, what is good must be right rather than the old principle that what is right must be good. One implication of this post-modern thinking is that we lost the sense of sin. What is good is right and therefore is not sin. There is no more objective truth: that sin no matter what we think is sin nevertheless.

Consider for instance. People prefer to go to the beaches because it is good for them to relax and have a good time. Lent is vacation time rather thana moment for reflection on our transgressions of God's law, to repent and atone for them. The purpose of Lent is thus lost and so is the opportunity to return to God.

There are many manifestations of this post-modern thinking (what is good is right). Some women dress to expose as much of their anatomy because they feel good. That might be so if they go elsewhere but these women go to church in partial dishabille. Notice how some women dress in church during weddings?

There are rules or codes of dress in church as there is in formal occasions. There are notices in churches on how to dress but it seems that dress for weddings are exempted because these women feel good in showing their wares. The church is not a place for a fashion show but for worship before the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. A non-Catholic church does not have this Holy Presence but their members attend church with due respect to what the place is for – a place of prayer – and they dress with their best. Thus the phrase, “Sunday's best”.

Fr. Camon also noted our selective obedience to the law of God and of the Church. We call this “fast food mentality”. We choose which law to obey and the choice is usually that which makes us “feel good” rather than which is right and in consonance with God's will as expressed in His laws.

Note how this feel good mentality has affected our public officials. They know that corruption is stealing which is a violation of God's law. But they steal by the millions because of their deluded belief that the millions will give them luxury, a good life. There is no more sense of sin about stealing.

Fr. Camon talked of Catholics who refuse to obey God's law that artificial contraception is immoral. And without any sense of sin of what they do, they receive Holy Communion. The same goes true with corrupt public officials and private persons who exploit the helpless. They come to the Lord's Table because they believe that thievery of public funds or exploitation of the poor is not a sin. Indeed, the Holy Writ warns of people who bleed the poor of their meager substance.

We can atone only if we admit we have sinned and we fear the pains of hell.*



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