THE SERVANT GENERAL
INVITATION TO REPENTANCE
February 15, 2015
Today’s psalm: Psalm 32:1-11
The buzz words in the debate on how to reach out to those
Catholics who are in cohabitation, in irregular unions and
in same-sex relationships, are “mercy and compassion.”
Liberals in the Church are willing to bend backward with Church
law (and Christ’s teaching) in order to show mercy and
compassion. The basic argument is: these Catholics are in
the peripheries, outside the embrace of the Church, so how
can we bring them in?
yes, just like Jesus, we must always show mercy and compassion.
Then yes, the Church must be a mother who reaches out to all
her children to bring them back to the fold. But no, this
cannot be in conjunction with tolerating sin.
are such Catholics in such situations after all? “Many
are the sorrows of the wicked one” (v.10a). Cohabitation,
divorce and non-sacramental remarriage and same-sex relationships
are all sin, they are evil. Such acts are to be condemned.
But we still reach out to such Catholics. With mercy. But
mercy is an invitation to repentance, to return to the Lord,
not to persist in one’s sin. “Blessed is the one
whose fault is removed, whose sin is forgiven.” (v.1).
Mercy is not just about our act towards others, but about
one’s own responses. And thus, “mercy surrounds
the one who trusts in the Lord.” (v.10b).
liberals in the Church just want to extend mercy and compassion
without the corresponding repentance on the part of the other.
They do not want to talk about sin or be condemning. But that
will not solve the other’s sinful situation. That will
not truly bring them back. That will just manifest acceptance
of their sin, and they will continue in darkness. They thus
receive false mercy. What actually needs to happen for them?
“Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide.”
(v.5a). They need to repent.
what should the Church do? It is not to not speak of sin and
just be merciful. It is rather to be merciful by speaking
the truth about sin, but also teaching that God is merciful
and compassionate, and will always accept the repentant sinner
back. We should speak clearly about truth and righteousness
while showing mercy and compassion. “I will instruct
you and show you the way you should walk, give you counsel
with my eye upon you.” (v.8).
mercy is not the way. Not talking about sin is not the way.
Rather, the way to experiencing the true mercy and compassion
of God is repentance and righteousness. This is the only way
back. “Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
exult, all you upright of heart.” (v.11).