Friday, April 06, 2007
"Every time you sin, you nail Jesus to the cross all over again".
I am not quoting a priest from my childhood or my grandmother. That is a quote from the sermon given by my priest on this past Sunday, Palm Sunday. I have not been in church since last Easter; its been difficult to attend Mass with kids.
Even before kids we attended mass sporadically, but definitely more often than once per year.
The sermon on Palm Sunday was different than those I've heard over the past twenty years. The "fire and brimstone" sermons of my youth have been replaced by sermons consisting of feel good stories, affirmations that God loves us and countless bad jokes. On Sunday my priest went "old school". I think that the sermons purpose is to make you think, so I believe my priest's sermon was effective.
Although I agree with his message, I differ with his words. I would have said "Every time you sin, you nail the person you sinned against to the cross". His message utilized guilt, mine utilizes empathy. There is nothing wrong with a little guilt. Guilt keeps us in line, but guilt puts the focus on you and brings to the forefront that "you" feel bad. Empathy connects your actions to the other persons feelings.
When you sin (I say when "you" sin because I never do, of course not) you shouldn't feel bad about Jesus being nailed to the cross, he asked for it. That was his destiny. At anytime leading up to the events of Good Friday he could have backed out and many of us Christians would still be Jews. You should feel bad about the people you sinned against, they didn't ask for it.
Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
Guilt is good, empathy is better.