Rely not on your wealth;
say not: “I have the power.”
Rely not on your strength
in following the desires of your heart.
Say not: “Who can prevail against me?”
or, “Who will subdue me for my deeds?”
for God will surely exact the punishment.
Say not: “I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?”
for the Most High bides his time.
Of forgiveness be not overconfident,
adding sin upon sin.
Say not: “Great is his mercy;
my many sins he will forgive.”
For mercy and anger alike are with him;
upon the wicked alights his wrath.
Delay not your conversion to the Lord,
put it not off from day to day. (Sir 5:1-7a)
Me. Mine. I want. Gimme.
Those are all words and phrases that we first use as we develop. We view the world as a place that exists merely to fulfill our wants, dreams, and desires and we make it known with pleas, demands, and tantrums.
When we grow into our teens, we often develop a sense of invincibility. How quickly that becomes shattered when a friend, family member, or loved one is involved in an accident and dies or perishes from a devastating illness. Our mortality practically smacks us in the face and we do not know how to cope.
In dealing with others and asserting our own wants and demands, we often fail to see the need to forgive or ask for forgiveness. If someone does not measure up, we often leave them behind and look for others to give us what we want.
Thus is the life of a sinful human: weak, flawed, prone to selfishness, and taking others for granted.
In our reading from Sirach, we are reminded that these kinds of attitudes are all wrong. We cannot live as if we are the only ones who matter. We cannot treat others with disdain. We cannot be merciless while, at the same time, expecting mercy from others. And, above all, we cannot act that way toward God.
If there is anyone whom creation spins around, it is God, not us.
FAITH ACTION: Make a slow and deliberate examination of conscience today and determine what you may need to do. If confession is in order, make a plan to go to confession