Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Isaiah 7:1-9; Matthew 11:20-24)
Forty-five years ago the respected psychoanalyst Karl Menninger astounded American society. Although a defender of mental illness, Menninger published a book entitled Whatever Became of Sin? His answer to the question was that regular people often try to cover up responsibility for their evil acts with medical jargon. Menninger understood, along with Jesus in today’s gospel, that this kind of evasion indicates a sick society.
Jesus preaches that before they can experience the love of God, people must acknowledge their faults and change their lives. He says that inhabitants of Capernaum, where he lived, have been especially reluctant to meet this demand. Hardly the ever-smiling pacifist, Jesus preaches eventual destruction to those who refuse to repent.
Still Jesus was no “fire and brimstone” preacher like John the Baptist. But he does recognize the commonness of sin and the need to purify ourselves of it. Whether our sin be sloth or sex, we must stop making excuses for it. Rather we need to confess it and make every effort to put it behind us.