Monday of the Second Week of Lent – Solidarity in Sin?
Cardinal Hume wrote: ‘There is a certain solidarity in sin.’ The passion and death of Christ happened as a consequence of the sins of many: we might think of Judas, Pilate, the Roman soldiers, the religious leaders and the people in Jerusalem, even the cowardly disciples who abandoned Jesus in his hour of trial. Looking at the bigger picture, it is ‘the sinfulness of the rebellious and stiff-necked world, the sin of men and women down the ages’ that leads to the Cross. In this way, since all of us have sinned, all of us are implicated in the rejection of God’s Son.
The prayer of Daniel, in today’s first reading, rightly places the emphasis on the whole community’s failure to love and obey the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘we have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly, we have betrayed your commandments and your ordinances and turned away from them.’ All have sinned, and no amount of mutual support and concerted effort will get us out of the mess we’ve made. We have all fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). As a result, none of us has the strength to break out of the cycle of sin, unless we look to the One who has broken into our lives to transform them from within.
The only way out of sin is Jesus, who is the Way to the Father, because he shares all our sufferings – the effects of sin – without having committed sin himself (cf. Heb. 2:17, 4:15). On the Cross, Christ takes all our sin upon himself, in order to forgive all our sin (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21). Thus, no sinner is left beyond God’s offer of salvation, no wayward soul is beyond redemption. Christ came to call sinners, not the righteous (Mt. 9:13). So, it is good to recognise our ‘solidarity in sin’, as long as we do not stop there. Our true solidarity is to be found in Christ the Redeemer.