SIXTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR – Our inner sins
INTRODUCTION AND CONFITEOR
Many people, who confess their sins, confess only the things they have done wrong. But Christ tells us that we can sin even if we never commit the external act. We can sin in our thoughts, desires, motives, and attitudes. Sin comes from within, and it has deep roots in each of us. Let us think about this for a moment. [Pause]
I confess to almighty God .
HEADINGS FOR READINGS
First Reading (Eccles 15:15-20). God wants us to do good, not evil. Nevertheless, he leaves us free to choose one or the other. With the help of his grace, however, we can choose the good.
Second Reading (1 Cor 226-10). Paul says a beautiful thing which should ﬁll us with joyful hope. He says: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard all that God has prepared for those who love him.’
Gospel (Matthew 5:17-37). The Scribes and Pharisees were considered to be models of virtue. Yet Christ said: ‘Unless your virtue goes deeper than that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will not see the Kingdom of Heaven.’
When we examine our conscience we rarely look at our internal sins. We concentrate almost totally on our external ones – our words and deeds. We tend to ignore our internal sins – our bad attitudes, intentions, and desires. Yet these may be our worst sins, and the root cause of most of our external ones. We look at the ripples or waves on the surface, and ignore the current underneath. An illustration may help.
I know a driver. His licence has never been endorsed. As far as the law is concerned his slate is clean. And since he has never been in a serious accident, he enjoys a no claims bonus with his insurance company. One might assume then that we are dealing with a model driver. Not so. In fact he is a terrible driver, and I’ll tell you why. It’s not that he does any big wrongs on the road. He doesn’t break all the rules or anything like that. No. He’s far too shrewd for that. Rather, it’s his whole attitude that’s wrong. He drives as if he owns the road. You know the type!
He hasn’t a shred of road courtesy. He would never yield the right of way to anyone. He is totally inconsiderate. He is careless in a whole lot of small ways. Often he doesn’t bother to give signals. He frequently drives in the wrong lane. At night he seldom dips his headlights for on-coming trafﬁc. That kind of thing.
He is very impatient with other drivers. He loses his temper at the least thing and shouts and screams at them. He is always in a hurry, with the result that you can never relax with him. Risks mean very little to him. He often pulls out or overtakes in dangerous situations. When other drivers blow their horns at him, he tells them where to go in no uncertain terms. They are wrong, not he. He thinks nothing of driving when he has had too much to drink.
I could go on, but I’ll stop here. So there you have him. I think you will agree that he is not a good driver. In some ways he is a menace on the roads, and I believe that it is only luck that has prevented him from having a serious accident. I know that he has had a number of narrow escapes. I once told him to his face that I thought he was a lousy driver, and he was highly offended. He defended himself like this: ‘I’ve been driving for some ten years, and I’ve never had a serious accident. A few minor scrapes, yes, but I’ve never had to write off a car or anything like that. How many drivers could say the same?’ He genuinely believes he is a good driver. His guiding rule is simple: keep out of serious accidents. Anything else – like hurting the feelings of other road users, or annoying them or frightening them – doesn’t enter into his thinking.
It is possible to avoid serious accidents and still be a bad driver. In the Gospel today, Christ tells us that it is possible to avoid committ