Confess Your Sins To The Lord
The reading from Baruch is not from the hand of Baruch, who was the secretary of Jeremiah. It dates from the time of the Maccabees and is like a penitential celebration deploring the sins that had led to the present calamities and oppression.
Modern means of communications have brought the world more closely together and shown us more clearly too the presence of sin and evil in the world; more than half of the world is hungry and exploited, the world’s economy has gone out of hand notwithstanding dole-outs for development aid and whole nations are not free from inside or from outside. And in our own little worlds there is repeated selfishness, pride at the expense of others, suspicion… While condemning the sins of society, let us not lose our personal sense of sin in the process; let us not forget our solidarity of sin and at the same time live better our solidarity with love and life on account of Christ. Sin is a rejection of Christ and his message of love and salvation.
1 Reading: Baruch 1:15-22
During the Babylonian captivity, the exiles prayed: “Justice is with the Lord, our God; and we today are flushed with shame, we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem, that we, with our kings and rulers and priests and prophets, and with our ancestors, have sinned in the Lord’s sight and disobeyed him. We have neither heeded the voice of the Lord, our God, nor followed the precepts which the Lord set before us. From the time the Lord led our ancestors out of the land of Egypt until the present day, we have been disobedient to the Lord, our God, and only too ready to disregard his voice. And the evils and the curse that the Lord enjoined upon Moses, his servant, at the time he led our ancestors forth from the land of Egypt to give us the land flowing with milk and honey, cling to us even today. For we did not heed the voice of the Lord, our God, in all the words of the prophets whom he sent us, but each one of us went off after the devices of his own wicked heart, served other gods, and did evil in the sight of the Lord, our God.”
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 79:1b-2, 3-5, 8, 9
R. (9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the corpses of your servants
as food to the birds of heaven,
the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth. R.
They have poured out their blood like water
round about Jerusalem, and there is no one to bury them.
We have become the reproach of our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
O LORD, how long? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire? R.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low. R.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake. R.
Alleluia: Psalm 95:8
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Luke 10:13-16
Jesus said to them, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.’ Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
There are few passages in the Old Testament that summarize Israel’s failings as graphically and as well as this short summary from Baruch. Israel had been given more than enough advance warning. From the time of their departure from Egypt to the time of the exile, the will of God on their behalf had been made very clear. And yet what had been their choice? From top to bottom— kings, rulers, priests, prophets, as well as the citizenry as a whole— all disregarded God’s precepts and followed their own whims. They had been guilty of idolatry and all manner of evil in God’s sight. Now they can only cry out with the psalmist, “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name.”
And what is to be said of the responses that Jesus received in a number of his own cities? If the wonders that he performed had been done in pagan cities (Tyre and Sidon), they would long before have repented. Even Capernaum, in his home region, will be drawn to the dark of the underworld. The final injunction, heard before, does not fit well in context. But its truth is unassailable. To reject the disciple is to reject Christ, and to reject Christ is to reject the Father.
We receive many warnings in life. They sometimes come from friends or family, from our own physical makeup, from faith or conscience. Those with sincere contrite of heart approach the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist. But in the attraction of the moment, warnings may be disregarded. In very short order, we may turn our backs on everything we have learned. With Peter, we may well say now, “Not I, Lord.” But beware, lest we fall. Our house must be built on solid ground to withstand the onslaught. Pray the Lord to steel us against the day of battle.
We regret it, and in our best moments we don’t really want it, but sin always returns. May God have mercy on us and help us. May God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!