Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator
There is one point which the culture of Jesus' time and that of our own time has in common; namely, the issue of secrecy. I make a distinction here between privacy and secrecy. While privacy was also a commodity that was rare in the time of Jesus, it is something that we tend to respect.
However, secrecy is, to my way of thinking, something entirely different. Secrecy is more often than not an attempt to hide corruption and hypocrisy. This is the message that Jesus is trying to convey in today's Gospel passage. When we hide something or some deed from our family, from our employer, from the authorities, more often than not we are attempting to cover up some misdeed. Secrecy often leads to lying as we make every effort to keep our secrets.
It is for this reason that the Church practices the ritual of confession. Once we reveal our secret sins to another individual, even an anonymous individual, they are no longer completely hidden. We cannot hide behind the façade of righteousness when we confess our sins.
A friend who is in recovery once quoted me something that I believe comes from the so-called "Big Book," a reference used in twelve step programs: "We are only as guilty as our deepest secrets." The Gospel affirms this wisdom.