Hein, AnnAnn Hein, Cojourner
Friday of the First Week of Lent

The first reading reminds me of one of the saddest funerals I attended.  We buried a woman who had died estranged from her son.  They were both really nice people.  The estrangement was the result of an overprotective mother who didn’t want to let go of her son. 

She was a virtuous woman who lived a good life.  Only when it came to her son, she was extremely overprotected.  In spite of that, he turned out quite well.  When it came time for him to leave home and get married, she couldn’t let go.  She became very bitter and it poisoned their relationship.

This is a prime example of how one wicked act results in turning away from God.  As she allowed her bitterness to consume her, she became a different person.  We often think of “wicked” acts as involving murder or adultery or some deliberate cruel act.  We forget how cruel we can be by being unforgiving, or closed minded, or judgmental.  These actions also take us away from God.

In the gospel reading Jesus tells his disciples how important it is to resolve disputes with our brothers.  We can see that once the virtuous person turns away from God, it gets harder and harder to turn back. 

It is also interesting to note that it says whoever is angry with his brother.  It doesn’t say the person who caused the anger – but the one who is angry.  Even if you didn’t start the incident, God wants you to go and be reconciled with your opponent.  God will wait while you reconcile with your opponent.  God does not want the virtuous person to start down that path of wickedness.

These readings really speak to us every day.  We have our plans and that is all we see.  We get so comfortable with our virtuous ways that we miss the subtle influence of pride or jealousy or envy in ourselves.  We miss when we start doing the wicked deed.

The good news is that we can turn back to God and preserve our life!