In the Confiteor, which we say at the beginning of Mass, we say, “…I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done AND IN WHAT I HAVE FAILED TO DO.” This is a constant reminder that there are two types of sin: Sins of Commission and sins of Omission. In other words, we can sin by simply doing nothing!
The example that I often use to distinguish between the two types of sin is this: If you push someone in front of a bus, it is obviously a sin (Commission). But if you deliberately decide not to prevent someone from accidentally stepping in front of a bus, it is also a sin (Omission).
Edmund Burke is often attributed with the words, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” In fact, the earliest form of this saying goes back to 1867 by John Stuart Mill, but this should not detract from the message.
In the gospel of today (Luke 12: 42-48), Jesus explains a parable to his disciples which includes, “And that servant who knew his master’s will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating.”(vs. 47; RSV).
The problem is that there is not always a perfect solution. As with St Teresa last week, there are occasions when either choice is a sin! Damned if you do and damned if you don’t, as they say.
Thankfully, as Catholics, we have the sacrament of Reconciliation, which we used to call Confession. Whenever we sin grievously, we must receive this sacrament before we receive Communion again. Otherwise, we are required to receive the sacrament at least once per year. Remember that Jesus came to call sinners, so we should take up his invitation joyfully.
Confessions are every Saturday afternoon from 4pm to 5pm.
In the meantime, try to stay away from temptation!
God bless and stay safe. Dc Mike & the team.