Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Impossible for Man

We just keep on judging people for corruption, immorality, lust, pride, laziness, and other vices, and even comparing nations, and gauge their level of wickedness. What happens? Many apparently are clean and orderly in the outside but have worse and more wicked hidden agenda in the inside, which is of course, a worse hypocrisy or pakitang-tao or palabas.

We have to remember that for all these deep-seated vices of humanity the only remedy is the grace of the Saviour Jesus Christ plus our sincere repentance. I mean His grace because He is God-made-man in the sense that He took our human nature to save us from our sins. The name Jesus, in Hebrew Yehoshua means "Yahweh saves" or "God saves" (see Mt. 1:21).

The seven capital sins, all of which are the road to ruin, precisely express the attachment to worldly realities from which only God's grace can liberate. God's grace comes through prayer and God's word -- "Man lives not by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Mt. 4:4). It's not money that is the root of evil but the seven inordinate loves or capital sins: pride, covetousness (or avarice), lust, anger, gluttony, envy, sloth. When the apostles were told by Jesus that it is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, they were so astonished and remarked "Who then can be saved?"

The gospels say: "Jesus gazed at them ((with the eyes of mercy and consolation)) and told them: for man this is impossible, but for God everything is possible" (Mt. 19:23; Mk. 10:23; Lk. 18:24). In concrete the Church offers God's word, diverse prayers and the 7 sacraments as aid and channels of grace for erring humanity. "It is impossible to please God without faith, since anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and rewards those who try to find him" (Heb. 11:6). Without the grace of Jesus the Saviour Messiah, our world would be "living in darkness and the shadow of death" (Mt. 4:16; Is. 8:23-9:1).

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