Wednesday, 13 September 2017


     This is an 'old style' piñata, common to Mexico. I say 'old style' because action figures, and the like, are now the rage. Anyway, you will notice that this piñata has 7 points (picos). Some say it was meant to represent the 'Seven Cardinal Sins', a list of 'serious sins' within the Catholic tradition. In the middle of the piñata is a clay pot filled with candy. When you break off the 7 points, and break the piñata, you are showered with gifts (candy). The symbolism should be obvious - fight against the 7 cardinal sins and you will be rewarded!
     In my own Evangelical Mennonite upbringing I was taught that it was a sin to 1) drink, 2) dance, 3) smoke, and 4) go to the movies. I'm sure there were more on the list, but these were the obvious 'external/visible' ones.
      There is a problem with both perspectives (Catholic and Mennonite). There are a number of 'lists' in scripture (Proverbs 10:16-19, Galatians 5:19-21 are good examples) and they are not the same. They are examples of sin, and not meant to be an exhaustive list. Furthermore, a careful study of scripture suggests that sins of the heart (greed, envy, hate, anger, selfishness, pride, etc.) rank prominently on most lists. The 2 greatest commandments are: 1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and 2) love your neighbour as yourself. Avoiding the '7 Cardinal Sins', but living like you want in the meantime, isn't what God has in mind. Avoiding externals (drinking, dancing, smoking), without changing one's heart, attitudes and values, isn't God's idea of righteousness either!
     Finally, although the consequences of one sin (i.e. murder) can be significantly greater than another (i.e. lying), God doesn't seem to give us a 'ladder' or hierarchy to be able to say that one sin is worse than another - sin is sin in God's eyes. A white lie is still a lie! What we should be striving for is a Holy Spirit initiated change in our hearts - our attitudes and values, so that we are ever more Christlike in all we do, say and think. Going to Mass, or going to a church service, once a week, doesn't necessarily 'fix it' or produce the desired change. Confessing and then doing it all over again isn't God's plan. It seems that relationship, with God, and our neighbour, is of utmost importance. Allowing Christ to control, and change, our lives, via the Holy Spirit, makes having healthy relationships possible - on all levels. Although we might not be able to call it 'heaven on earth', it's certainly headed in the right direction!


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