"For when [Christ] came, not to judge, but to save the world, (41) was He not bitterly severe toward sin, but patient and abounding in mercy toward sinners?" Humanae Vitae (#29)
Much has been written in that last few days about the release of a document (midterm report of the Synod of Bishops) and Pope Francis' earlier statements about gay people and divorced and remarried people. I'm afraid that too many people want to focus on the condemnation of Leviticus and forget about the mercy of Christ. For Heaven's sake, what is Divine Mercy Sunday about anyway? Are folks so focused on the form of things that they forget about the major principles of our faith? Do we compartmentalize our faith so much that we can't remember from one Sunday to the next what this faith of ours is all about? Is each devotion held so much unto itself that we are unable to apply it to the general principles of our faith?
Even in one of the most controversial documents of the last century to come from a Pope, the above statement by Blessed Paul VI shows that this is not a new idea from Pope Francis. Paul recognized and taught that mercy is more important above all other things. AND - St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI continued to teach the mercy of Christ as being important beyond other aspects of our structure.
Interesting words, "bitterly severe". Does this describe the condition where one screams most loudly about that of which they are most afraid in their own inner being? It seems that some of our Catholic brethern would take the tact of Rev. Fred Phelps of the Westboro Church toward all who sin. Why is it so improtant to single out a certain class of sinners, e.g., homosexuals and divorced-remarried persons, for full excoriation of the penalities of the church?! I thought that we all are sinners needing the full mercy of our loving Saviour. Do we really need to classify each other in the conservative and liberal camps to justify ourselves. Hmmmm. Sounds like a bunch Pharaisees to me - hollowed whitened sepulchres. Perhaps we just need to remember the quote from Paul VI that began this reflection. Or even better the words of our Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ. "Love others as you would love yourself."