Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious

Lectionary: 207

Whoever sins belongs to the Devil, because the Devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the Devil. No one who is begotten by God commits sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God. In this way, the children of God and the children of the Devil are made plain;


As I wrote yesterday, the Evangelist John, amid polarizing controversy between Jews and Christians, saw no grey area between black and white. Plain and simply, "Whoever sins belongs to the devil...."
A lot of people have been stunned by the recent "me too" uproar. Although the movement is not without precedent, the spate of accusations against powerful men, first in prominent places and then in local shops and schools, caught them by surprise. Everyone, it seems, is trying to recognize the full dimensions of this horrific problem. If most women have suffered sexual harassment, are most men predators? Mathematicians would say, "yes."
If a man has insulted and humiliated a woman should he be fired immediately? Should we suppose he "belongs to the Devil," and that he is not and never was one of our number? Apparently, many women, men, corporations and organizations believe so.
This furor is typical of apocalyptic times. it is "the end of the world" for many people; they find themselves suddenly outcast -- jobless, friendless, divorced, isolated and in some cases impoverished. "Good!" many people will say. "Good riddance!"
Many people devoutly believe this controversy signals a deep and profound change in the relations of men and women. Women will suffer this abuse in silence no longer! That is a consummation devoutly to be wished!
Christians have seen many apocalyptic hours come and go. Toward the end of the first century, Saint John assured his people, "Children, it is the last hour;* and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour." 
Fortunately, that last hour passed and life went on.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once declared, "There are no second acts in American life;" but that was only another apocalyptic remark. Many politicians, entertainers, business people, parents and spouses have returned after suffering overwhelming humiliation. Except for the suicides, the condemned will be given graceful opportunities for rehabilitation and reconciliation. The suicides tragically overreacted.
As we begin this new year a banquet of penance, forgiveness and communion appears before us. The Lord himself invites everyone to the table to share his humble pie.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.