The Wages of Sin

Our first reading today comes from the Book of the Prophet Ezekial. Its message shakes me to my core every time I read it. God is warning Ezekial that if He sends him to someone to warn him that his sin will lead to his death, and Ezekial does not warn him, then he will die in his sin, but Ezekial will be held responsible for his death. As a preacher who does not really like delivering fire and brimstone sermons, I wonder if I am being too gentle sometimes, and avoiding uncomfortable topics. I have to admit that there have been times when I have been guilty of that, and I wonder if someone has gone to Hell because I did not warn them about the seriousness of their sin. Trust me, I have confessed this sin, and I pray for the one I failed, and for my own forgiveness. Please pray for me as well.
This reading makes clear that there are consequences for sin—what are sometimes called the wages of sin. Our culture does not take sin seriously, because it does not take the wages of sin seriously. Even Christians are guilty of this. We have constructed a God who is so nice that He would never hold us accountable for our sin. He would never punish us for our sin. So, we can sin freely and joyfully. Like every dog, every sinner goes to Heaven.
Jesus does not call us to be nice or polite. He calls us to be holy. Holiness means to try to live each moment according to God’s will and God’s plan for us. It is to strive to love God with all our hearts, our minds, and our strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves every day. Failure to do so does have consequences—and according to Jesus, some of those consequences are eternal.
Many Christians today do not take sin seriously, because they do not take holiness seriously. And not taking sin or holiness seriously, they do not take Purgatory and Hell seriously. In fact, they do not believe in either Purgatory or Hell. If there is no Purgatory and no Hell and everyone goes to Heaven, then there is no need for salvation, and Jesus’ death on the Cross was the most useless and pointless act in the history of the world.
Sin matters. And therefore, salvation matters.

Okay, there, I have warned you!
Fr. Mike Comer

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