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(Part 165)


February 16, 2018

Today’s readings:
Isaiah 58:1-9
Psalm 51:3-19
Matthew 9:14-15

Those in irregular unions (divorced & remarried, live in, same-sex union), presumably accompanied with sexual relations, are in serious sin. Marriage is between a man and a woman, consecrated by God, in a lifelong relationship. If a marriage is not reflective of the relationship between Christ and his bride the Church, then there is something seriously wrong. “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (Mt 9:15b). To fast is to mourn and to show repentance.

Many Catholics today are in irregular unions. The world around them, including some liberals in the Church, are telling them it is OK. Or the pastors are keeping quiet about their sinful situation, not wanting to offend them. This is political correctness, a great scourge in the Church today. But if repentance for sin is essential to being right with God, what should pastors be doing? “Cry out full-throated and unsparingly, lift up your voice like a trumpet blast; proclaim to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.” (Is 58:1). They must speak out clearly and even loudly about what is sinful.

Political correctness results in sinners becoming comfortable in their sins. After all, they are accepted and embraced, without their sin being pointed out. So what need is there to repent? Perhaps this Ash Wednesday they even went to Mass, had ashes put on their forehead, and received Holy Communion (as some bishops have said they can). Business as usual. But it is not so with God. God tells His people: “They seek me day after day, …. they desire to draw near to God.” (Is 58:2). But on their fast day, they commit all sorts of sins (see Is 58:3b-4a). One of these sins that is so common today is sexual immorality. Or even adultery in the case of those divorced and remarried (one or both of whom are not with their Church-wed spouse).

Why are pastors not confronting people with their sins, especially sins of sexual immorality? When King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, the prophet Nathan confronted him. And David repented. Once again he became right with God. He composed that great prayer of repentance, what we know as Psalm 51. What do we learn in this psalm?

First, God is indeed merciful, and He desires to blot out all our sins. “Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.” (Ps 51:3). But the false mercy of political correctness will not blot out sin and make us right with God.

Second, for us to receive the mercy of God, we need to repent of our sin. “My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.” (Ps 51:19). But political correctness keeps people in their sins.

Third, for us to repent, we need to know what our sin is. “For I know my transgressions; my sin is always before me.” (Ps 51:5).We cannot just rely on conscience, as consciences today have been massively influenced by the dominant liberal culture, where in fact wrong has become right. Consciences must be properly formed, for us to distinguish between good and evil. And we must know that a sin is an offense against God. “Against you, you alone have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your eyes” (Ps 51:6a).

Fourth, for us to know what our sin is (assuming already a flawed conscience), our pastors need to teach us and tell us clearly. “I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.” (Ps 51:15).But pastors too need to know what is wrong and what is right. Unfortunately, today the progressives in the Church are themselves overturning the authentic gospel. Anyway, rather than making us comfortable in our sin by not telling us we are in sin, we must realize the dire effect of serious sin, that we are cut off from God. “Do not drive me from before your face, nor take from me your holy Spirit.”(Ps 51:13).

Fifth, upon knowing the truth of our sinful situation, we must desire to be cleansed of our sin. “Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me.” (Ps 51:4). We must be so uncomfortable in our sin that we desire to be right with God, knowing that He can re-create our hearts and renew our spirit. “A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit.” (Ps 51:12).

Political correctness is false mercy, as people are left in their sins, which cut them off from God. What the people of God are called to is certainly not sexual impurity, but purity of mind, heart and body. “Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (Ps 51:9).

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