As I entered this Advent, Pope Francis had just visited Thailand. We were closing the liturgical year proclaiming Christ the King. Advent is a time for reflection; a pondering deep within self in order to prepare the way for the coming of the King at Christmas. We live in busy times. For me Advent can be like the blur of a passing high speed train. I must force myself to stop, so as to ponder and to ask myself “Do I want to belong to this Kingdom?”
Pope Francis said in 2014, “When the Kingdom of God is lessened, when the Kingdom of God decreases, one of the signs is that the sense of sin is lost”. When the sense of the Kingdom of God is lost in its place he said, “Emerges a very powerful anthropological vision, in which ‘I can do anything’”.
We can achieve many things on our own, making us less dependent on the Kingdom. We have become creative in expressing our thoughts and ideas. We are experts in justifying what we do, and won’t do. What is sinful can be argued in today’s context to remove the wrong. Have we truly lost this sense of sin?
Have we also allowed the Kingdom of God to lessen in our life? A more comfortable and intellectual life has allowed us the courage to challenge God. Creativity and technology has given us the freedom to wander away from the Kingdom. Our self-confident complacency has brought us nearer the danger of declaring, “I can do anything”.
To have a sense of sin is to have accountability in belonging to the Kingdom. Sin comes with a sense of guilt. But guilt is not condemnation. There is no judgement yet in the Kingdom. Guilt is the fig leaf covering the nakedness of Adam and Eve. It sharpens the awareness of the presence of God. Having this sense of sin mean that we still belong in the Kingdom of God.
We live in more comfortable times blessed by the fruits of technology. Today God and sin are old fashioned concepts in modern life styles. We empower ourselves with personal rights, “I can do anything”. But sin too has made outstanding progress embedding itself in our thoughts and opinions, hiding behind our ‘rights’, so much so that we have lost this sense of sin.
As we enter these final few days of Advent, we should get off our high speed train before we crash into Christmas. It will do us good to pause, reflect and to rediscover sin.