HATE THE SIN AND LOVE THE CHURCH OF SINNERS
“Then Job answered the Lord and said: ‘Behold, I am of little account.’ ” –Job 40:3-4
Mass Readings: September 30
First: Job 38:1,12-21; 40:3-5; Resp: Psalm 139:1-3,7-10,13-14; Gospel: Luke 10:13-16
God’s ways and thoughts are as high above our ways and thoughts as the heavens are above the earth (Is 55:8-9). Even the wisest people know nothing compared to God. We all must say with Job: “Behold, I am of little account; what can I answer You? I put my hand over my mouth” (Jb 40:4).
Nevertheless, the infinite, all-holy, almighty Lord has decided to speak through His Church made of weak, limited human beings. Moreover, He amazingly exalts His Church by announcing: “He who hears you, hears Me. He who rejects you, rejects Me. And he who rejects Me, rejects Him Who sent Me” (Lk 10:16). The Lord has made His Church “the pillar and bulwark of truth” (1 Tm 3:15). He has even made the Church His Body (see Eph 1:22-23) and His bride (see Eph 5:25ff). The Lord loves the Church, gave His life for the Church (Eph 5:25), and exalts the Church.
The Lord expects His disciples also to love the Church, live in the Church, and die for the Church. We are naturally turned off when we see the Church so full of sinners. The Church on earth is anything but naturally lovable. Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit graces us to do the humanly impossible – to love a very human Church instituted and exalted by God. Do the required and the impossible. Love the Church.
PRAYER: Father, like St. Francis, grace me to love and rebuild the Church.
PROMISE: “O Lord, You have probed me and You know me; You know when I sit and when I stand; You understand my thoughts from afar.” –Ps 139:1-2
PRAISE: St. Jerome loved sinners so much he promoted Scripture, piety, martyrs, relics, clerical celibacy, and refuted heresies. He fiercely spent his energies for love of God and the Church.