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  • Sarah Raad

Omissions

“The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” (Pope Benedict XVI).

Jesus Preaching (Tissot)

I have been meditating on the Gospel of Saint Matthew (21:28-32)…


“‘What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterwards he repented and went. And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’” (Matthew 21:28-32).


It is an interesting parable because both sons were in error. The first initially rejected the father – who is God in this parable – and the second only appeared not to reject God, but actually rejected Him when all things were considered…


Saint Paul directed us. He told us how we must be when he said, “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate... For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” (Romans 7:15,19).


And yet, I find this parable so relevant to me because it reminds me that there are a great number of sins of omission in my own life…


And I have been reflecting on this idea so very much in the lazy first few days of this new year… How often it is that instead of doing what I ought, I do what I want. This sort of laziness, procrastination or simple diversion is really – at essence – the work of the Evil One. The utilitarian philosopher, John Stuart Mill, said “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” And this idea that evil can succeed where the good do nothing, has merit – despite my objections to the philosophy of the philosopher who is credited with this statement…

You see, omissions are as dangerous as actions. And this statement is the actual foundation and basis of the Tort Law of Negligence.

Effectively it works like this… I might not push someone into a hole dug into a footpath, but if I do not put a barricade around that hole someone (particularly someone with a vision impairment) will be more likely to fall into the hole and hurt themselves. I might not feed someone poison, but if I do not print and clearly display a warning on the bottle it is more likely that someone will consume it and be poisoned. And I might not force someone to sin, but if I do not live my life trying to please God and to become a saint and others follow me, I shall be the soul who lead others to damnation instead of to Heaven…


And yes, this can at times be difficult… But life is not easy… In over twenty years of teaching, not one of my students has ever failed an examination because they WANTED to fail – people usually fail because they just did not try hard enough to pass…


Pope Benedict XVI said, “The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”


And as I reflect on these words of the Gospel, I wonder about all the things I omitted in my life and I beg forgiveness for the greatness that my omissions prevented… For I have wasted such greatness through sins of omission and it is my greatest wish – through God’s Grace – not to sin in that way again… For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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