Monday, October 8, 2007

Condemned for doing nothing

We have an African priest and I've heard him thrice now. It's a different experience listening to him, and when I do, I have to wear my glasses so I could see him clearly. It helps me understand what he says better given his accent and all.

He's a teacher and a good one, too. You don't usually take notes when listening to a sermon in a Catholic Church, but this priest makes me grab my pen and paper. I tell you, he gives loads of information in his speech that I gasp every now and then. Add to it his singing, yes, and during his sermon! He uses song lyrics as examples and sings them out. That's authentic African singing live for free!

He is Father Pascal.

The other Sunday, the Gospel reading was Luke 16:19-31. It was about a rich man named Lazarus and a poor man. Lazarus, who was sent to hell, didn't understand why he was there. He believed he didn't do anything wrong. Father Pascal said he was condemned for doing nothing. That was it: he didn't do anything. He could have done something to help the poor man who was right under his nose, yet he didn't. Instead it was the poor man who ended up in heaven.

Lazarus was neither cold nor hot (See Revelations 3:16); Neither an unbeliever who remains cold to a faith nor a believer who takes God's love seriously. He was one of those who seek only comfort and stability in this material world.

I remember in the Penitential Rite, in the earlier part of a mass, we recite this confession: "I confess to Almighty God... that I have sinned through my own fault... in what I have done (that is, my sins), and in what I have failed to do (this is the sin of omission)..."

I am writing this to remind myself that I could always do something.

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