Rev. Stanley M. Moczydlowski, M.B.A., M. Div. (Fr. Stan)
October 20/21, 2018
One of the biggest obstacles to understanding how Jesus might see a particular issue stems from the fact that, in Scripture, Jesus does very little moral teaching. He doesn’t simply walk around from town to town saying to those he meets, “Don’t do that”, or “Cut that out”, or “How dare you!” when it comes to the issues of right or wrong. In fact, Jesus seems to have a certain kind of affinity for, connection with, and heartfelt compassion for sinners, for people who have messed up, for people who have done the wrong thing time and time again, and he rarely scolds them. Rather, he often invites them to turn away from their sin, encourages them to walk a different path, challenges them to see things differently and embrace a new way of living. While he does all of that, his deep love for them shines through.
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you.” (Mark 10:42-43)
There is something clear in the Scripture passages about Jesus that he seems to have little or no tolerance for: Nothing seems to make Jesus angrier and more disappointed than someone pointing fingers at others, while at the same time elevating one’s own status or goodness. (“If only the rest of the world were like me……”).
We often fall into the trap of believing that other people are the problem, not us. We have all the answers, and we know what God wants, while others don’t. We can often be like the Pharisees who often put themselves on pedestals of righteousness. How often can we spout off answers to the moral questions of the day but never take the time to listen. How often can we scold, put down, and admonish others and never take time to look in the mirror.
Pope Francis put it beautifully when he said, “If one has answers to all the questions - that is proof that God is not with him. It only means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties. We must be humble.”
Let us put on humility as we continue our journey of faith, and let us never use our faith, or our beliefs, or our Catholic tradition in a heavy-handed or self-righteous way. Rather, let us acknowledge the great mystery that is our loving God, and acknowledge our profound need for his great mercy and forgiveness and saving power.
God bless you,