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The Sins We Don’t Want to See

First Reading: James 4:13-17

Beloved:
Come now, you who say,
“Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town,
spend a year there doing business, and make a profit”–
you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow.
You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears.
Instead you should say,
“If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.”
But now you are boasting in your arrogance.
All such boasting is evil.
So for one who knows the right thing to do
and does not do it, it is a sin.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 49:2-3, 6-7, 8-10, 11

R. (Matthew 5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Hear this, all you peoples;
hearken, all who dwell in the world,
Of lowly birth or high degree,
rich and poor alike.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Why should I fear in evil days
when my wicked ensnarers ring me round?
They trust in their wealth;
the abundance of their riches is their boast.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Yet in no way can a man redeem himself,
or pay his own ransom to God;
Too high is the price to redeem one’s life; he would never have enough
to remain alive always and not see destruction.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
For he can see that wise men die,
and likewise the senseless and the stupid pass away,
leaving to others their wealth.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

Gospel: Mark 9:38-40

John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.”

NAB

may 18

It was supposed to just be a date night with a side of chips and queso.

But after my husband and I watched the movie “Spotlight”—a chronicle of the Boston priest scandal, as seen through the eyes of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight reporting team—I was struck by one overarching theme.

I, too, have turned a blind eye to wrongdoing and simply looked the other away.

And that was a sobering reality. We all do it. Don’t kid yourself.

A group of moms starts gossiping about a fellow mother in the trenches, and you stand by and say nothing, or worse, join in. I mean, that mom really did need to chill out, right?

Your teenager posts a mildly inappropriate photo on Instagram, but it’s not really that offensive. You say nothing.

Your co-worker knocks back a few too many beers before grabbing her keys to head home, but she’s really not drunk, just a little tipsy. Plus, her house is just a short two-minute drive away. She’ll be fine. Probably.

A catechist shares with his First Communion class that coming to church every Sunday isn’t really that important, as long as they come a few times before the “big day.”

The person ahead of you in the communion line, a non-Catholic, raises her hands and receives communion. She’s married to one of your closet friends and she’s practically Catholic. Totally no big deal.

Our husband is working late, so we binge watch a morally questionable show because, we deserve it. Do you know how hard our day with the kids really was?

We check our social media accounts relentlessly and are fully present to complete strangers, yet ignore the cries of our children.

These words in today’s reading struck me: “So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, it is a sin.” I’m ashamed to admit how many times my humanity has tried to rationalize the severity of other’s sins compared to my own. Somehow, I’ve tried to convince myself that I was right to look the other way, right to say what I did, right to do nothing.

The sobering bottom line? I was afraid. I was afraid to preach the Gospel, both in action and in word, because of what others might think.

Y’all, there are a million opportunities God gives us to show Him love. Don’t squander it. Quit being a bystander and start becoming a disciple.

Do the right thing one time today, defend a friend, be a mom to your children, love your husband. Turn away from sin in at least one moment and let God win.

photo credit

Kathryn Whitaker and her husband, Scott, have 6 awesome kids, teen to toddler. She is a former public relations consultant turned freelance graphic designer, party planner, organizer, and preemie advocate who hails from the Lone Star state. You can find out more about her here.

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