The story from the Book of Genesis for today’s liturgy is not a pretty picture. Sarai, tired of waiting for a child, gives her slave to Abram so that he can impregnate her and raise up the progeny that God had promised would outnumber the grains of dust on the earth. When Hagar becomes pregnant, she begins to look at her mistress with disdain. Predictably, Sarai regrets her decision to give the slave girl to Abram and begins to abuse her. Then she actually blames Abram for creating the situation. He had given Hagar to Sarai as a gift. She reasons that none of the tragedy would have happened if only Abram had not offered her the gift.
Who of us doesn’t regret certain decisions in our lives? Who of us hasn’t looked for someone else to blame when our decisions create a problem? Who of us has not compounded the error by blaming someone else and taking it out on them? Sin begets sin. Poor decisions lead to other poor decisions.
How do we break the cycle? The answer to that question albeit simple is also very difficult. The only way to break the cycle of sin, the cycle of blame, the cycle of abuse is through repentance. When we become aware of sin in our lives, better to admit it outright, confess our sin, do our penance, and leave the whole situation in the dust. Otherwise we will simply continue to dig a deeper hole by making one bad decision after another.
We are all sinners. We have all made bad decisions. None of us is immune. Sin will lead either to more sin or to repentance. The choice is ours.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator