Saturday, July 27, 2013

Is your sin the sin of Sodom (it's not what you think)? (Sunday homily)

We might wonder what’s going on in that first reading with God and Abraham? 
Let’s take a look. 

We have Abraham negotiating with God. 
Will you spare the city for 50 innocent? For 45? For forty? 
And so it goes, until Abraham stops at ten. 

If you read the rest of the story in Scripture, 
you’ll discover that when God sends his angels to Sodom,
they find not ten, not even five righteous people, 
and yet the angel tells Abraham’s son-in-law, Lot, 
that he isn’t allowed to carry out the punishment 
until Lot and his family leave: a total of four people. 

So one lesson: God is more merciful than we imagine. 

While on this passage…
the “sin of Sodom” does include sinful behavior between males,
it involves more than that. There is cruelty and aggression involved. 
When you look more closely at the story, 
it’s clear that the community is completely warped; 
and sexual sin is only part of the depravity. 

The point of the story isn’t to stigmatize just one sin. 
Rather, it is about no longer being willing to repent. 

The really sobering thought is this: 
if we become comfortable with sin—any sin—
it becomes a prison from which we can never escape—
because we won’t want to. 

Those angels came and opened the prison doors: and only four people left. 
Even then, one—Lot’s wife—turned back. 

Second lesson: God’s mercy is ready if we repent; 
but without repentance, there is no remedy. 

Now what I’ll say next is delicate. 
But since this passage is used to focus on one, particular sin, 
the whole context of what our Church teaches needs to be stated. 
So I want to be plain, but not pound the pulpit. 

We believe that the gift of sexuality is designed by God 
for marriage between a man and a woman. 
But this is inseparable from our belief 
that this isn’t just about two people coming together, 
but about a couple always being open to life—to children. 

This is what we call chastity. 
And folks who think it’s only for someone else, you’re doing it wrong! 

I’m a priest, and I have to be chaste and celibate; and that’s not always easy. 
A married couple remaining open to the gift of life isn’t always easy. 
Waiting until marriage isn’t easy. Being single and chaste isn’t easy. 

And when Paul talks about bringing our transgressions to the Cross, 
he’s talking about all Ten Commandments, not just the Sixth and the Ninth. 

So, how do we do that—nail our sins to the Cross? 
We do it, first, in baptism; and after that, in confession. 
That’s where what the Lord said in the Gospel is perfectly fulfilled: 
“For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; 
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” 

Certainly, admitting our wrongs is embarrassing. 
I’m embarrassed admitting my sins—we all are. 
But if it helps any, speaking as a priest hearing confessions: 
I’m not shocked! I’m not embarrassed! 
And even if you somehow embarrass me, you won’t shock or embarrass God. 

We have confessions every Saturday at 3:45 pm;
and I’ve started hearing confessions at 10:15 am—
that is, before the Sunday 11 am Mass. 

Our Father in heaven readily gives the Holy Spirit…if we ask.


Will said...

Excellent homily, Father!

Nancy said...

Receiving (during a Sunday homily) what the Church teaches about the sacrament of marriage is not only timely but a blessing. Thank you Father.

Mary D said...

Very clear! Thanks.
But I will share that for a mother with children at home, Sat. afternoons was the most horrible time for confession. It is much easier for a mother with toddlers to go on Sat. morning...I know...there are weddings...
or with a family during a monthly holy hour in early evening, so grade school children can be home on time for bed.

Mary D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fr Martin Fox said...


I'm hesitant to delete posts, but you can delete anything you post. If you didn't want to include a photo, it's in your latter post, too!