I don’t get surprised very often by the darkness and destructiveness of this world. I try not to cry out, “The sky is falling”; however, after watching ISIS beheading people I was beside myself with rage and anger. This past week I got another lesson in SIN.
Yes, sin. You remember that rather traditional description of losing your way, missing your mark, breaking the commandments, and committing acts that diminish you. I found a new word for it in the media that would never use that word. I learnt it from the spokesman for VW who, after admitting to fraud and deception for the past six years, said with an attempt at humor, in English: “We screwed up.”
This is not simply an error, faulty workmanship, and mechanical failures that are so often involved in recalls. This is out and out fraud, deception, that doesn’t come from the assembly line but lies higher up in the VW organization. This was a deliberate attempt to deceive American consumers and authorities. A screw-up is so inadequate a description of the 11 million vehicles involved in this cover-up and act of fraud. Even the word fraud seems inadequate.
I guess it’s a basic lesson in theology. Every week we confess that we have “screwed up”, diminished our lives, and been co-opted by the obligations of the world that appears to look the other way in so many instances on what is right, moral and healthy.
My faith has informed me since childhood that, in the words of St. Paul, “the good that I would that I do not; the evil that I would not I do.” Don’t be fooled – none of us has clean hands. All of us have “fallen far short of the glory of God.” Next time you confess in church, remember the arrow points at you, and if you are truly sorry, you discover the wonder of grace and the joy of forgiveness.
So, don’t come late and don’t miss confession. As they say, “it’s good for the soul.”