Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sins that cry out

I was only a few steps from the adoration chapel, on my way back to Mom's, when a workman called out to me over the buzz of a lawn-edging tool. "That's pretty bad what was on the news about the Catholic Church." At first I didn't know what he was referring to. "You, know," he said, "in the news about that $600 million settlement."
Oh, yeah. That news.
"That's the sort of thing that turns people away from Christ," the man said.
Way back, they used to talk about the "sins that cry out to God for vengeance." These are drawn from the Bible (remember the blood of Abel "crying to me from the ground"?); you'll find one of them in the Letter of James. The New Testament sage depicted a judgement in which the wages withheld from a day laborer would be "crying out" against an exploiter. (For a contemporary example of this, click here.) In later years, another such sin was quaintly termed the "corruption of little boys" (now in the Catechism (#1867) phrased in more biblical language as "the sin of the Sodomites").
It's a good thing to clean out that corruption by whatever means necessary, the way St. Paul speaks of cleaning out the "old leaven" in order to bake a new, unleavened loaf to become the Body of Christ.
The yardworker thought the abuse was recent, and he was scandalized by what was, to him, "new" bad news. Would to God this would be the last such news we get, but that's probably not the case. And yet we are still expected and called to evangelize! Perhaps St. Paul's words to the Corinthians will be verified in us again: God chooses the things that are not to put to shame the things that are. At the most unlikely time for the Church, we are still called upon to share the good news of Jesus. In the face of betrayal and abuse and sin, we are not exempt from this mission.

No comments: