We are all sinners in need of forgiveness. We have all fallen short of the glory of God, that call to participate in the unconditional love and tender mercy of God. There are two extremes that we must avoid when facing this fundamental reality. The first is that we can try and make excuses for ourselves. We can compare ourselves to others and weigh our virtues against the faults of those we perceive to be less than us. In this way we say, So and so is such a sinner, look at all their faults. In contrast, we hold ourselves as being better than others.
The other extreme is that we can fall into a deep cynicism. We begin to doubt that holiness is possible, and we thus believe that the virtuous living called for in the gospel is some lofty ideal that does not work in the “real world.” We sarcastically speak against Bishops, Priests, religious, and those people who strive for piety by pointing out their faults, either real or perceived.
This is why we need a culture of forgiveness, one in which seek to build each other up through the transformative power of Christ’s love. We see the pattern for such a culture in the life of Jesus Christ. When Jesus is faced with the sins of others, he does not condemn, but gently invites those on the margins of society to something more. He makes the same offer to adulterers and tax collectors as well as the Pharisees and scribes. True love always involves an invitation to growth, to shed those attachments which keep us from communion.
As our parish and our society embraces the notion of forgiveness and mercy, we will find that a profound rest will enter into our hearts. That spirit of condemnation and judgment, that voice of the enemy that whispers the faults of others into our ears, is ultimately a voice that turns us in ourselves, which cuts us off from God’s grace. We must reject that voice, we must reject those lies.
In this way, we must learn to reject everything that keeps us from glory of the Resurrection. At St. Bernadette’s Catholic Community, we are giving out images of the Resurrection in order to remind us of the glory, the power, and the mercy of God. In the Resurrection, we are reminded that the victory has already been accomplished in Jesus Christ. Our work is to simply accept that reality and invite others to embrace Christ. We can use the image as an opportunity to bring a ray of light into the lives of our family and friend. Thus, we should know that when we gaze upon the glory of the Resurrection, we gaze upon the mystery of God’s love.
The image we are giving out is pictured in this post.