Saturday, September 12, 2015

How far will we go?

In today's reading from the First Letter to Timothy, we hear

This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost.

And truth be told we have no idea what St. Paul means by that. We have no idea what sins he committed. Sometimes we act as if after his conversion experience he never sinned again but that would make him unique among those of us born with original sin.

The saying "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" sounds like the kind of thing to which we would respond, "Duh!" And yet, we all need to be reminded of it. We need to be reminded that it is unqualified. It doesn't say, Christ came to save those who commit any sin but the following. If we are honest do we not all have a list of sinners we would not like to set next to in Church? Think about it.

And yet, St. Paul reminds us that it is precisely for those people that Jesus came.

Where sin abounded, grace abounded even more Rim 5:20

I have been shocked by the response of some who first got upset over the Pope's new instructions regarding abortion, and now the response to the Pope's new procedural law regarding annulment. Some want to suggest that he is condoning abortion and divorce. Nothing could be further from the truth. He has simply identified these as two areas where we could do a better job in reaching out to people and reconciling them to the Church.

As he often reminds us, the Church is a hospital. It is a place for people in need of healing, it is the refuge of sinners.

How far are we willing to go in really welcoming ALL people into our churches?