Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit.”
I’ve done some pretty stupid things in my life. Actually, let me translate that better by saying I’ve done some pretty bad things in my life. One thing I regret having done happened while I was in High School. I was way over my head my senior year and had made the mistake of taking way too many AP (Advanced Placement) classes at the same time. One subject that was making my life a living hell was AP Biology, and I wasn’t doing well at all. At that time, it seemed like getting a good grade in that class was the most important thing in my life, and I was willing to do whatever it took to get a good grade. I thought the solution would be to study harder, but the devil opened a drawer instead.
On one occasion, I got up from my chair and went to my teacher to ask her a question. While I was waiting in line, I looked down and saw one of her desk drawers wide open. I glanced to see what was inside and was amazed at what I saw. It was our next test. I was shocked to see it. I felt my heart race and I couldn’t even remember the question I wanted to ask. I went back to my chair and told my friends what I had seen. One friend of mine, very intelligent and very clever, told me that he knew a way to get a copy of the test.
That same afternoon, right after dismissal, my friend went up to a very sweet and innocent janitor who had worked for years at the school. He asked her if he could borrow her keys to get into the biology room. He said that he had forgotten his books and needed them for tonight. The janitor, a wonderful lady, believed every word he said. He even promised her he would be back with the keys in less than five minutes. Being back in five minutes was the only honest thing he said. My friend entered the classroom, opened the drawer, took the test and made a copy of it and put the original back in the drawer in less than five minutes!
On the day of our exam, I scored a perfect score – 100%! My teacher wrote the sweetest comments on my test. “Al, I am shocked at how well you did on your test. I am very proud of your improvement.” I will be very honest with you; I could care less about the morality of the perfect score! I justified it all with twisted logic! After all, my teacher was unfair by being so demanding, way too much of a perfectionist and way too much of a teacher! That’s how I justified it! That’s when I learned that you can “justify” just about anything in this world, including lying, cheating and stealing! All you have to do is just place the blame on someone else!
I wish I could say that that was the only time my friends and I did this. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. But one day it got worse. One afternoon, I saw my friend leaving the classroom not only with the test but with our teacher’s notebook. I asked him what he was doing with that. He just smiled. The notebook he held in his hands was our teacher’s most prized possession. It was the result of years and years of research. It was very important to her and she always used it while teaching. I couldn’t believe he had it. And what did he do with it? He burned it.
That year, and after nearly thirty years of service, she retired. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
How things change with time! How people change with time! “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how”.
Many years later I had the opportunity to apologize to this teacher and ask for her forgiveness. Of course, it no longer mattered to her, especially when she realized that I had become a seminarian. But I did what I needed to do, and that was a major step forward for me!
All of us commit sins. Not all of us confess them. It is this painful reality that keeps the world from uniting with Heaven.
King David committed a grave sin when he killed his best friend and took his wife (cf. 2 Sm 1:1-17). Later on, he would confess his sin, but only after it had been discovered.
“Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.” (Ps. 51:3)