When you hear the words – sex and drugs and alcohol – you know we are talking about addictions. Addiction to sex which has destroyed many families, which has diminished human dignity. Addiction to drugs which has caused the culture of killing. Addiction to alcohol, losing sobriety, becoming violent, resulting in many broken souls, broken spirits, and unfortunately broken bones.
Addiction. We all know what is an addiction. And how are addicts to be saved? The Gospel for today opens with the words – “Jesus said to Nicodemus…” Who was Nicodemus? In a manner of speaking, he was also an addict. He was not a sex addict, drug addict or alcoholic. He was a pharisee and he was an addict of tradition. His mind had become so closed that he was not ready and willing to listen to anything that is not in tradition. And yet Jesus talks to Nicodemus. Why? And yet Jesus enlightens Nicodemus. Why? And yet Nicodemus is now considered one of the saints in the church. And why? For only one reason. He was honest.
He was honest. He knew he had eyes but he could not see. He knew he had the brain but he could not understand. He knew he had ears but he could not hear. And that is why he approached the Lord in the middle of the night, in the darkness of the night when no one could see, and then he asked Jesus, how can it be possible? He was honest.
The sex addict can be saved if he just says – Lord, I enjoyed sex when it was offered to me but I know I need to change. The drug addict can be saved if the drug addict will not offer excuses, will not offer rationalizations. The alcoholic can be saved if the alcoholic will honestly say – Lord, I really enjoy alcohol but I want to change because I had become its slave.
They will be saved. Nicodemus was an addict to tradition. But he could be saved. Why? Because he was honest. Brothers and sisters, you know the dictum, liars go to hell. And how is our time? How is our age? How is our society? And how is the Philippines?
Ten years ago, you could not declare that “I earn a living by lying.” Trolls? Trolls are liars. And not only are they liars. They earn a living by lying. And not only do they earn a living by lying, they feed their children and loved ones by lying. Now the question needs to be asked – How can trolls be saved when they cannot be honest with themselves? when they cannot be honest with the Lord? when they cannot be honest with us because they have manipulated our minds?
Brothers and sisters, the teaching is the same. If you are honest, you can be saved, with the worst sex addiction, with the worst alcoholism, with the worst drug addiction, with the passion for tradition like Nicodemus. You can still be saved for only one reason – be honest. The Lord is not expecting you to be perfect before you approach Him. You may be a sex addict, you may be an alcoholic, you may be a drug addict. You may have been a criminal. You may be an abortionist. You may be an adulterer. The Lord just asks you. Tell me. Tell me the truth. Don’t hide the truth from me because I know it anyway. If Adam and Eve, after eating the forbidden fruit and confronted by the Lord, and the Lord asked – Why did you do that? If Adam and Eve, instead of offering an excuse, or Adam blaming Eve. If both of them just said – Lord, we really enjoyed the fruit but we forgot that it was offensive to you. Lord, we are sorry but we really enjoyed it. It was candid. It was frank. And it could have changed the story. But then what did they do? They made an excuse and Adam blamed Eve. And the original sin continues.
Now, my dear brothers and sisters, how is our age? If you add sex, drugs, alcohol and if you add corruption. Corruption in government. Graft in public service. And then you ask – how can the corrupt official be saved? The corrupt official must first be honest. Again. Once more. Just be honest. And if the corrupt official will be honest then there will be salvation. Unfortunately, the thief and the liar are brothers. The thief is actually a liar. And the liar will eventually steal. So, where lies salvation? I say it again, my dear brothers and sisters, be honest. Even if society glorifies fake news, be honest. Even if the salary for the troll is high, be honest. Even if you will be jobless and have nothing for the table at home, just choose to be honest. Because honesty will be your salvation. And honesty will save your soul. Nicodemus was honest and his honesty brought him grace. Stop pretending. Stop the hypocrisy. Bare your soul, naked before the Lord. Without any excuse. Without any defense. Without any defense. Bare yourself before the Lord. And say, Lord honestly, I enjoyed the sin but I want to change. Lord, please do not look at my sin. Look at my honesty and willingness to be better.