Now, More Than Any Other Time

by Fr Richard Heilman | January 13, 2024 11:16 AM

NOW, MORE THAN ANY OTHER TIME

TODAY’S GOSPEL …

Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said to them, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

The angst I feel of late, seeing so much rancour and division. All this is spoiling the image of Catholicism.

Today’s Gospel points to where we need to be. Now, more than any other time.

First … No, we should never do anything that gives the appearance of condoning sinful behavior. But, we should always have arms open for those who seem ready to come home … those who are searching.

The image of Jesus dining with sinners is beautiful. But, the context matters. These are “sinners who are searching,” as opposed to those looking to have their sin sanctioned.

Another image is the Prodigal Son. Yes! The father was beside himself in joy, and threw a party for a dignitary, once his son returned. But, notice the prodigal son did not return with a prostitute at his side. He knew the “house rules,” and was finally ready to abide by them. He truly wanted to come home. PRAISE GOD!!

The image in today’s Gospel is clear. We must always have the attitude of welcoming, not condemning. IOWs, we must be clear we hold nothing against a person’s past but, instead, celebrate the miracle of their conversion.

THIS is the image of Catholicism the world must behold. Now, more than any other time!

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