This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
I find it most interesting how the most religious people of the day, the Pharisees and scribes, were pushing back on the most religious figure ever. I find it intellectually stimulating how those who followed God most closely were pushing back on, well, the Most High, Jesus Christ?
A few weeks back I wrote a meditation entitled Love and Order (August 26th, 2013). In it, I answered some questions regarding homosexuals and homosexuality. Someone (I believe a non-believer), was pushing me and other commentators to say that homosexuality was a sin. I’m glad to say that no one went for it.
Homosexuality is a disorder, one of many disorders, and those who suffer from this disorder deserve all our love, attention, understanding and compassion.
This morning I read an article from the Huffington Post. I think it was a God sent. It came at the perfect time. Apparently, a priest in India allegedly called homosexuality a “grave sin” during his homily. A parishioner who heard the sermon and is also a member of the LGBT group, Queer Azaadi Mumbai (AZM), notified the Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who then wrote a moving letter to AZM.
He wrote: “Going by the data in the letter, some of what the priest said is alright and some part is inappropriate. The Church does not accept gay marriage because the Bible teaches us that God willed marriage to be between man and woman. On the other hand, to say that those with other sexual orientations are sinners is wrong. I do think we must be sensitive in our homilies [sermons] and how we speak in public and I will so advise our priests.”
He went on to say that he would advise all his priests to be more sensitive when talking about gay issues.
The Lord reached out to all types of people: tax collectors, sinners, lepers, Romans, Syrophoenicians, women and children. Today, the Church reaches out to even more people: atheists, agnostics, abortionists, dictators, communists, democrats and republicans.
A while back, I wrote on a miracle that was attributed to the prayers and intercession of Blessed John Paul II. A friend of mine, an atheist, asked me if I believed in the miracles attributed to gods other than Jesus Christ? Or if these miracles were simply a fraud or a hoax.
That’s a great question. Unfortunately, far too many Christians would feel obliged to answer this question by compromising their own beliefs. “Well, we believe in our God and they have their god. What makes us think our God is better than theirs?”
But there is another possibility; the possibility that allows us to acknowledge these miracles without compromising our beliefs in the One True God. Wasn’t it Jesus who said: “Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6:35-36).
“To show that you are the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike]“ (Mt. 5:45).
In other words, our God boasts that He lets his blessings rain on sinners and saints, believers and non-believers, the good and the bad. He loves us all, even if He doesn’t agree with us at all.
This makes perfect sense. Think about it. Would you help someone who didn’t believe in you? Would you help them if they didn’t have any hope in you? Would you help them if they didn’t trust in you? Of course you would. I hope you would!
Now if we are willing to be so magnanimous, then why wouldn’t God? After all, weren’t we created in His image and likeness?
It makes perfect sense to me that God would help even those who did not know Him, believe in Him, hope in Him or even trust Him.
The Good News of our faith is that Christ is calling on all sinners to join Him. The Bad News is that He cannot count on all His Saints.
The reality of sin means the Lord cannot always count on all His people to change their lives and share His life, His love and His forgiveness with others. (111)
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