March 15, 2012 - Friday of the Third Week of Lent

Today's Readings

“For the ways of the Lord are straight, and the righteous walk in them; but the sinners stumble in them.” In the paths of the Lord, there is nothing to trip us up. There are no rocks; there are no curves. Nothing could be easier than to do what is right. But we sinners! We bring our own stumbling stones with us. We put obstacles in our own way, trip over them, and yell at God.

How much trouble our sins cause us! When we are tempted to sin, we imagine that we want to sin, but when we have sinned, we regret it. Our lives would have been so much easier and more pleasant without sin. Imagine if you had never sinned. We would still have troubles, but our worst troubles (our shame, our betrayal of others, our failure to live up to our own standards) are all our own doing.

When a sinner goes to hell, there is no need for them to be punished there. Sinners bring their own stumbling stones with them. Imagine any sin. Imagine repeating it uncontrollably for the rest of forever. Imagine a glutton: eating and eating until they throw up, and then continuing to eat. Imagine a wrathful person: screaming and yelling and complaining, stomping around and shouting their head off forever. Imagine a lazy person: lying on a couch, watching television, nothing on, nothing at all, just static, but they never stop watching. We sinners do not need fire and brimstone. Hell is boring. Do we imagine that our sins will keep us interested for the next ten trillion years? What about the ten trillion after that?

There is healthy food, and there is unhealthy food. It is not hard to know what food we should eat. It is not hard to eat healthy food. Still, millions of people are sick because of how they eat. It is not hard to exercise, to walk a few miles every day. Still, millions of people are weak because they never do.

Our bodies are not so different from our souls. It is not hard to do what is right: to love God above all and love our neighbors as ourselves. If we wrote down a list of everything we should do tomorrow, in order to be perfect, it would be easy to write, and there would be nothing on the list that we were incapable of, yet how hard it is to actually do good.