by Fr. Tommy Lane
Sin is always attractive, if it weren’t we wouldn’t commit sin. What is sinful attracts momentarily and we fall into the trap of believing it will satisfy our needs. But the following day we are still dissatisfied. Why? Because what is sinful never satisfies. The devil deceives us to make us think that sin is attractive but we discover afterwards that sin damages and did not bring the joy we wanted.
“Welcome to Heaven,” said St. Peter. “Before you get settled in though, it seems we have a problem. You see, strangely enough, we’ve never once had someone like you make it this far and we’re not really sure what to do with you.”
“No problem, just let me in” said the woman. “Well, I’d like to, but I have higher orders. What we’re going to do is let you have a day in Hell and a day in Heaven and then you can choose whichever one you want to spend an eternity in.”
“Actually, I think I’ve made up my mind, I prefer to stay in Heaven”, said the woman. “Sorry, we have rules...” And with that St. Peter put the executive in an elevator and it went down down down to hell. The doors opened and she found herself stepping out onto the putting green of a beautiful golf course. In the distance was a clubhouse and standing in front of her were all her friends - fellow executives that she had worked with and they were all dressed in evening gowns and cheering for her. They ran up and kissed her on both cheeks and they talked about old times. They played an excellent round of golf and at night went to the clubhouse where she enjoyed an excellent steak and lobster dinner. She met the Devil who was actually a really nice guy (kinda cute, he always is) and she had a great time telling jokes and dancing. She was having such a good time that before she knew it, it was time to leave. Everybody shook her hand and waved goodbye as she got on the elevator The elevator went up-up-up and opened back up at the Gates of Heaven and she found St. Peter waiting for her.
“Now it’s time to spend a day in heaven,” he said. So she spent the next 24 hours lounging around on clouds and playing the harp and singing. She had a great time and before she knew it her 24 hours were up and St. Peter came and got her. “So, you’ve spent a day in hell and you’ve spent a day in heaven. Now you must choose your eternity,” he said.
The woman paused for a second and then replied, “Well, I never thought I’d say this, I mean, Heaven has been really great and all, but I think I had a better time in Hell.” So St. Peter escorted her to the elevator and again she went down down down back to Hell. When the doors of the elevator opened she found herself standing in a desolate wasteland covered in garbage and filth. She saw her friends were dressed in rags and were picking up the garbage and putting it in sacks. The Devil came up to her and put his arm around her.
“I don’t understand,” stammered the woman, “yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a clubhouse and we ate lobster and we danced and had a great time. Now all there is a wasteland of garbage and all my friends look miserable.”
The Devil looked at her and smiled. “Yesterday we were recruiting you, today.....you’re staff.
That story reminds me of a fact of life. Sin is always attractive, if it weren’t we wouldn’t commit sin, but what is sinful attracts momentarily and we fall into the trap of believing it will satisfy our needs. But the following day we are still dissatisfied. Why? Because what is sinful never satisfies. The woman in the story was deceived. That’s the way it is with the devil and sin. The devil deceives us to make us think that sin is attractive but we discover afterwards that sin damages and did not bring the joy we wanted. The woman in the story was confused, and we in our times we are confused. We do not seem to know anymore that sin is sin. Sin is inviting us and God is inviting us, we have to choose.
That reminds me of first reading today where Wisdom, which is really God’s Law, invites us to leave foolishness behind,
“Come and eat my bread,
Our response to the Psalm is another invitation to attach ourselves to the Lord instead of to sin, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Ps 34:8) And in the Gospel today Jesus too invites us to attach ourselves to him,
“I tell you solemnly,
And so the words of our second reading take on more meaning when we read them together with the other readings for today,
“Be very careful about the sort of lives you lead, like intelligent and not like senseless people. This may be a wicked age, but your lives should redeem it. And do not be thoughtless but recognize what is the will of the Lord.” (Eph 5:15-17)
Let us listen to God’s invitation to us today to leave sin behind and instead let us taste and see that the Lord is good. Sin and the devil are kinda cute. But that is a deception to confuse us. After sinning we are not happy. The only way we will find the life we need is by turning to Jesus.
“I tell you solemnly,
“Come and eat my bread,
“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Ps 34:8)
More homilies for the Twentieth Sunday Year B
Related Homilies: John Chapter 6 - Jesus’ Sermon on the Eucharist 2011