Sunday, November 10, 2013

TFTD: Missing the Point

A fellow parishioner once complained that our Pastor never spoke about homosexuality or abortion. I was tempted to reply, "Why? Are you a homosexual abortionist?" (Thankfully God gave me the gift of prudence not to do so).

The comment wouldn't have been flippant though. It points out a problem with Catholics. That problem is focusing more on judging others than on asking ourselves where we stand with God.

Remember the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector:

He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Luke 18: 9-14.)

All of us are sinners, but sometimes we miss the point in judging ourselves against the sins of others instead of against who God calls us to be.

To be sure, practicing homosexuals and abortionists do need to be warned about their sins. But so do we. The Vatican II document, Lumen Gentium (#14) reminds us:

All the Church’s children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.

If the abortionist or the practicing homosexual repents, but we remain self righteous, they will be saved and we will not.

Let's keep that in mind when the Pope, Bishop or pastor seems to hit close to home instead of talking about "them."

Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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