Click to hear audio homily
The other day I was watching a program called, "Help! I'm a Hoarder" on TLC. How do you know you are a compulsive hoarder? It's when your house becomes filled with a mountain of things, to the point that you can't move around the house, you can't cook, or even sleep. You have heard of the term, "pack rat." Compulsive hoarding is the excessive acquisition of possessions (and failure to use or discard them), even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary. One of the hoarders said, "Holding on to these things is like holding on to the happy memories." Behind him was his garage packed with things from the floor to the ceiling. To the viewers, these "things" are trash, literally. But for them, they are treasures. Most of us don't go to that extreme, but many of us do have the tendency to acquire things and difficulty in letting these things go.
For the ladies here, there is even a website dedicated to giving you tips on how to declutter your house called, www.flylady.net. For those who feel overwhelmed with the chaos of clutter in the house, the first baby step, the Fly Lady says, is to clean your sink. She says, "Many of you can't understand why I want you to empty your sink of your dirty dishes and clean and shine it, when there is so much more to do. It is so simple. I want you to have a sense of accomplishment. You have struggled for years with a cluttered home and you are so beaten down. I just want to put a smile on your face. When you get up the next morning, your sink will greet you and a smile will come across your lovely face."
Do you ever feel things are cluttered inside--your soul--when you come to mass? You feel uneasy about hurtful or inappropriate words you blurted out to your friend the other day. You feel somewhat unclean from things you have seen on TV or the internet this week. You feel burdened with anger or resentment over an incident that happened last week. As Communion time comes near, you say to yourself, "Well, I really should not be going to Communion, but what will my friends think of me if I stay seated?" If there was ever a Fly Lady for the Soul, what would be her advice on the baby step to the decluttering of our soul? Exactly what John the Baptist said today in the Gospel, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!...Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” It takes humility to admit that I'm not clean, that I smell from the stuff that I have done and am not proud of.
To help you determine if there is clutter on your souls, I'll review the Seven Deadly Sins. Don't answer aloud; just reflect on these questions and decide if something needs to be cleansed.
- Are you sorry for all the times when you were prideful, when you thought yourself to be better than others?
- Are you sorry for all the times when you were angry, resentful, or even had hatred?
- Are you sorry for all the times when you were lustful.
- Are you sorry for all the times when you were gluttonous, when you ate, drank, or abused something to excess?
- Are you sorry for all the times when you were envious or jealous?
- Are you sorry for all the times when you were physically or spiritually lazy?
- Are you sorry for all the times when you were greedy?
Finally, this is not a part of the Seven Deadly Sins, but nevertheless important.
- Are you sorry for all the times when you were not God's patience, gentleness, kindness, and compassion in action?
This is usually the sin that I confess to another priest because I have not been patient, gentle, kind, or compassionate.
Do you really want to hold on to that anger, pride, resentment, lustful thoughts, gluttony, laziness, or greed in your soul, piled up high like those hoarders? Come to confession, and we'll help you clean out your clutter.