Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seaton, religious
(I John 3:7-10; John 1:35-42)
Last year's hit movie Brooklyn tells a simple story but delivers a powerful message. A young woman feels trapped in her native Ireland. She decides to emigrate to the United States where she falls in love and marries. Then she returns to her native country to bury her sister. She becomes nostalgic about Ireland’s charms and considers remaining there. Then she is jolted by the threat of a small minded meddler who learns of her marriage. The movie exhibits the import of today’s first reading.
The passage may be confusing at first. It seems to indicate that Christians never sin. This proposition conflicts with our experience. The passage intends to say that sin cannot become Christians’ way of life. A true child of God will not trade in pornography, kill for hire, or complacently practice other vices. The last verse of the reading arrests attention. Christians not only have to avoid sin but also must love one another.
Our care for others should move us to seek their improvement and not their shame. Brooklyn has the high-minded meddler willing to ruin the young woman’s reputation when she should have reminded her of the marriage vows that she took. We need to take note that our quest to live as God’s children is more than not breaking commandments but includes caring for others as sisters and brothers.