November 05, 2009

Accounting

The priest got up to the lectern and started his homily by saying he was tired of confessions that go like this: "Bless me Father for I have sinned...It's been 4 months since my last confession. I had an impure thought, I broke the speed limit and I got angry with my wife...."

He said either the person confessing was a saint or there was an incomplete examination of conscience. He especially wonders if these confessants were missing the sin of judging others.

In the first reading from Romans today St. Paul reminds us that we will have to give an account of ourselves:
The life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord. This explains why Christ both died and came to life, it was so that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. This is also why you should never pass judgement on a brother or treat him with contempt, as some of you have done. We shall all have to stand before the judgement seat of God; as scripture says: By my life – it is the Lord who speaks – every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall praise God. It is to God, therefore, that each of us must give an account of himself.
According to the OED account as the object of 'to give' means:
"A particular statement of the administration of money in trust: esp. in phrases; To give, yield, or render an account; to ask an account; to call or bring to account."
Some may be tempted to self-justify, in pointing to good works, or to self-accuse, in pointing out our sins. I looked up the Old Testament verse St. Paul quoted (Is 45:23-24), figuring that his listeners would know the context far better than me:
"By myself I have sworn;
from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
'To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance.'
They will say of me, 'In the LORD alone
are righteousness and strength.'
"

1 comment:

Roz said...

In panning for quotations by Bishop Sheen, I came across this one: "Hearing the confessions of nuns is like being stoned to death by popcorn."