PS 79:8, 9, 11 and 13
JN 6:63C, 68 C
Reading these lamentations a few times through made me really frustrated for a few reasons. First, the repetition of shame and guilt for sinning bothered me. While we should feel our sins, and know the damage done because of them, feeling shame for who you are is not a constructive way to move away from sin. Second, this passage is almost solely regrets, void of any further steps to get back to God. Then I realized, the frustrating shame that came out in this passage is simply a representation of what we do when we sin and stay away from God. We forget the inherent dignity with which God made us, and easily learn shame from the people around us. The shame overwhelms us, and we too easily forget the beautiful potential that lies within us [with God]. We have all felt this type of shame. It’s terrible, and its paralyzing. It focuses our sins on ourselves and what we are unable to do. There is no space there for growth or constructive love with such heavy shame and such distance from God. While the passage remembers that God is merciful and forgiving, it never personally engages with this loving God. I guess that’s why we have the New testament
We get to move forward with this Gospel. We are given the tools we need. Our God is not a distant one that is simply theoretically kind and merciful- God came to us and gave us the graces and tools we need to tap into the beauty that God made us to be. While the responsorial psalm implores to God to be our savior, the Gospel brings us to action. For our relationship with God should not simply be cries for help, but a trusting teamwork. Jesus reminds us that we know our sin, and we know that he is merciful. So now, our task is be merciful as he is merciful. Not only to others, but to yourself. Stop judging and condemning, and it will not be done to you. For we were made to be in loving relationship with God through all his creation- we must stop shaming ourselves and others and start forgiving ourselves and others, allowing ourselves to give the gift’s God gave us- for the measure with which you love will in return be measured out to you. God knows us pretty well, so I am trusting of this advice. Begin the change in the world with yourself, and our reciprocal nature as humans will start the wheel turning towards God.
Regan Clementi is a Senior in the Occupational Therapy program at SLU. She will finish her Masters in OT next year and plans to work all around.