Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Fourth Sunday after Easter—22 May A.D. 2011

“I will convict the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment.”{1}

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English

    Sometimes the language of the Scriptures can be difficult for us to deal with.  The older translations tend to be very literal renderings of the Latin Vulgate, or of the Greek originals.  The translators were concerned with strict accuracy—nothing could be imagined to be more serious than the falsification of the sacred texts, even if done accidentally.

    This passage in today's Gospel is an example of the difficulties we have with such literal renderings.  Some texts speak of the Holy Ghost coming to "convince" the world of sin, others say “convict” the world of sin.  It might do well to understand the phrase as to “prove the world wrong,” or to “demonstrate the errors of the world” in connection with sin, and justice, and judgment.

    To prove the world wrong in connection with sin—particularly the sin of unbelief: “I will convict the world of sin, because they do not believe in me.”  And, isn't that the essential sin of the world.  When we lie, or cheat, or steal, aren't we guilty of not believing in our Lord—aren't we contradicting His word; denying His divinity and His authority over us?  Would we sin if we had perfect faith?

    Can we not trace every evil that modern men commit to a lack of Faith in God?  Would men rape, and plunder, and start wars if they were constantly thinking about the glory of God, and the homage which they owe Him?  Don't our troubles stem from the state of infidelity which has taken over and replaced Christendom.  Perhaps “infidelity” is too kind a word—perhaps “paganism” is more accurate.

    Our Lord tells us that the Holy Ghost will demonstrate our errors in connection with justice.  “I will convict the world of Justice, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more.”  In one sense, He is taking the Jews to task for their lack of justice—for their bringing Him before the Roman governor and having Him put to death.  He would go to the Father and prove that He was right in all that He said; in all that angered them enough to commit such a travesty of justice.

    But, likewise, He is holding us accountable for our lack of justice—that even though He suffered and died, bearing the weight of our sins on His shoulders, we show Him very little gratitude.  We make no big sacrifices in our lives—and, often we don't even make any little ones.  We have Prayer, and the Mass, and the Sacraments, and His enduring presence in the Blessed Sacrament—but we take even these for granted, making use of them more because we have to, than because we want to.  When was the last time we attended a weekday Mass, or made a visit to the Blessed Sacrament?  How often do we feel free to pass an entire day without lifting our minds in prayer?

    Finally, our Lord speaks of demonstrating our errors concerning judgment.  “I will convict the world of judgment because the prince of this world has already been judged.”  We fail to see the devil, even though he is everywhere and always around us.  We glory in our possessions, in the developments of our society, and our technology, even when they are counterproductive, and even positively insulting to the will of God.  We rejoice, in what we call “freedom,” being unable to exercise judgment, and to see that we are celebrating our slavery.

    But, if today's Gospel seems to condemn us, it also proposes the remedy.  Even if we are quite justly convicted of sin and justice and judgment, we now have an Advocate.  Our Lord has gone to the Father—and has sent us the Holy Ghost—the “Spirit of Truth, who will teach us all the truth.”

    And this ought to be a constant goal for Catholics:  to know the truth—to practice the truth—and to spread the truth among our associates.  Our Lord tells us that He is Truth incarnate—so living a life of truth is like being in constant communion with our Lord.  As St. James tells us, “Of His own will He has begotten us by the word of truth, that we might be the first-fruits of His creation.”{2}

    We have the Mass, the Sacraments, and the enduring presence of Truth Himself in the Blessed Sacrament.  We have the ability to do good works, and the ability to call down our Advocate by our own regular prayers.

    By these things only we may escape conviction.  And these things we must do, and be glad in doing them,

For every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,

Coming down from the Father of Lights

with whom there is no change nor shadow of alteration.”


No shadow of alteration, only perfect Truth!






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