In today’s Lord of the Rings passage we read:
An Orc seized Pippin like a sack, put its head between his tied hands, grabbed his arms and dragged then down, until Pippin’s face was crushed against its neck.”
And in Scripture we hear:
Jesus said to Peter, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.’” (John 21:18)
We are trapped, captured, tied up, held prisoner, roughly treated, manhandled, seized, crushed and carried off like a sack by our sins. Like Pippin, we knew the risks and we were foolish; like Pippin, we now find ourselves regretful but seemingly without escape. We are being led where we do not want to go: we know the ultimate consequences of our sins, and we wish not to be taken yet. But with sin, especially those most persistent, most addictive, most deep-seated sins, we can feel like a sack: without agency, without hope. But we can have agency, however small, and hope, however fall off. We can seek to understand our sinful ways and therefore look for opportunities for small acts of resistance and defiance–cut off the ropes that bind us, run off to leave a token of our intention to reform. And even amid the orcish stink of sin, we know that help is always encircling like a band of horsemen. Christ seeks after us with a swiftness that would put even our Three Hunters to shame. Through Sacrament and sacrifice, we can shake off our sackish state.