Monday, September 24, 2018

When all is seen

We are told in the gospel of St. Luke,

For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. 

And our minds immediately run to people we don’t like, people we think have gotten away with or are getting away with something. We think finally they will get what’s coming to them. 

But rather than thinking of others, perhaps, we should think back over our own lives.. Imagine for a moment if absolutely everything you had ever thought, said, or done was suddenly publicly seen by all.  How would any of us feel if our lives were suddenly that exposed? How many relationships would go up in smoke if every person knew what you thought, or said about them behind their back? You can’t write it all off as “I was only kidding.”

In the Letter of St. James we are commanded to,

Confess your sins to one another 

In the early church this was taken quite literally and people were expected to stand up in front of the whole community and confess. Thankfully, over time, this practice evolved into our Sacrament of Penance, and we can make that confession to one priest or bishop as representative of the whole community. In this life we can maintain some privacy.  

Today’s gospel, however, reminds us that at the end there will be no secrets; there will be no privacy. It will all be known.  At the moment of our death, we will face what we call the “particular judgment”, the judgment of the individual. Our entire life will be brought to light and judged. And we will be humbled. 

The only way we can make it easier on ourselves is to get up every day and live as if it were all being broadcasted. We would do well to imagine that every moment of our life were being live-streamed on the internet, including our thoughts. 

In the gospel today we are told that there is nothing hidden that will not be visible. That would include all four categories we mention in the confiteor: thought, words, what I have done and what I have failed to do. 

It seems like an impossibility high bar that is being set. But it is really quite simple. We must think before we speak or act. And when we do fail, we should avail ourselves of the gift of the Sacrament of Penance, recognizing that there is no such thing as private sin, sin that it only between me and God. As members of the body of Christ, everything done by one effects all.  

May God give each of us the wisdom today, that we may choose the right words and actions, the ones we could be proud to have known by the world.