A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A false commitment to sin

Today’s first reading (Judges 11:29-39a) tells the terrible tale of a man who swears an oath – immoral from the beginning but dedicated to God – that leads him to kill his only child.

The oath was immoral from the beginning because it involved human sacrifice: a pagan practice never to be initiated by man.

The oath was even more stupid because who else would have been the first to greet him but his own daughter?

Yet he feels bound by the oath, even more so because of the help he has received from the Lord. Amazingly, his doomed daughter agrees. And so, she dies.

But just as an illegal contract is not binding, neither is a ostensibly sacred oath to commit a sinful act. There is nothing sacred, honorable or binding about a commitment to sin.

Our Lord’s words in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:33-37) give us an additional warning:

Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old,
`You shall not swear falsely,
but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.'

But I say to you, Do not swear at all,
either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,
or by the earth, for it is his footstool,
or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
And do not swear by your head,
for you cannot make one hair white or black.

Let what you say be simply `Yes' or `No';
anything more than this comes from evil.

We must be careful in what we say and very careful in our commitments.

But we also must never let the bad choices of our past force us to commit sin now in the present or in the future.

We must discern carefully at all times, with the help of the Holy Spirit, so that we may remain free from sin by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.