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Lord, make me an instrument of your peace . . .

26 February 2015

Who am I to judge?

Psalm 18

31God’s way is unerring;
the LORD’s promise is refined;
he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.p
32Truly, who is God except the LORD?
Who but our God is the rock?q
33This God who girded me with might,
kept my way unerring,
Psalm 57
2Have mercy on me, God,
have mercy on me.
In you I seek refuge.
In the shadow of your wings* I seek refuge
till harm pass by.b
8My heart is steadfast, God,
my heart is steadfast.
I will sing and chant praise.g
9Awake, my soul;
awake, lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn.*h
10I will praise you among the peoples, Lord;
I will chant your praise among the nations.I
The Psalmist understands the necessity of accepting that the LORD is the only and definitive authority in the universe.  The Psalmist recognizes that philosophies like secularism and relativism just don't cut it.  The Psalmist accepts that there is a code of conduct acceptable to the LORD and that it is necessary to seek solace with the LORD when things aren't going so well, and to ask for forgiveness for the things he has done wrong.  The Psalmist understands the concept of SIN. 
Oh, that we could accept that concept today.  With everyone running around setting their own standards and rules, it's no wonder there is no much anarchy.  The "gay lobby" especially took up the banner of the purported "quantum shift in the Church's position" when Pope Francis was quoted "Who am I to Judge?"  Except, like much of the time with the mainstream media, an important part of the quote was omitted, i.e., "Who am I to judge them if they're seeking the Lord in good faith?" is what he actually said.  Often the passage about people living in glass houses is quoted or the statement where Christ said to the women accused of prostitution, "Your sins are forgiven."    What people keep leaving out when they quote these sayings is, as Paul Harvey would call it, the rest of the story. 
Pope Francis wasn't condoning an active homosexual lifestyle, any more than Jesus Christ was approving the prostitutes.  "If they're seeking the Lord in good faith" and Christ's "now go and sin no more" are important parts of the "rest of the story" and a realization about the situation in which one finds oneself: acceptance of that code of conduct, that moral code based upon the natural law, that is inherent in belief in the Church's faith.  One cannot go about sinning at will, that is denying the existence of this natural law and its code of conduct, and really be "seeking the Lord in good faith".  One must accept that idea of sin and that there is a higher power that has created this natural law in the first place.   
So the Church rightly says that a person who is seeking the Lord in good faith can have a sordid past, because many of the saints have, in fact, had sordid pasts; but, they changed!  They turned their backs on that past and became a "new creation in Christ".  And look at what happened as a result, e.g., St. Francis, St. Augustine, Mother Theresa, and so on.
So we accept that God's promise is like gold and that He will take care of us, but we must choose to turn toward Him as the repentant sinners that we are and change our lives.  We Franciscans call it a daily conversion; that is, each day to resolve to move closer to God and make our best efforts to turn our back on sin.  We open ourselves to God's great love and that helps us understand that the way we "sin no more" is to live out that Golden Rule found in today's Gospel message:  Treat others as you would have them treat you.  Think of others first. Try to make their lives easier to live and sacrifice our comforts to make that happen.
As I have said before, we have really tried this ideas of selfishness and "ME, ME, ME" pretty well in this country.  Perhaps it's time to try giving ourselves selflessly to others recognizing the higher power of God' plan and accepting his charge to "go and sin no more."

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