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(Part 35)


February 27, 2015

Today’s readings:
Ezekiel 18:21-28
Psalm 130:1-8

What should be our ultimate goal? It is to experience the salvation of Jesus and make it to heaven. It is not our ultimate goal to have justice and peace on earth, as those are intermediate goals while on earth, as a way of beginning to experience concretely the salvation and liberation won for us by Jesus.

What then is the way to salvation and eternal life in heaven? It is to repent of sin and to do what God decrees. “But if the wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live.” (Ez 18:21a). The way to salvation is repentance for sin.

Those Catholics in cohabitation, those who have divorced and remarried (not sacramental marriage), those who are in same-sex unions, are all in objective sin. Some prelates in our Church want to extend mercy and compassion by not speaking of their sin but just by accepting them as they are. God certainly is a God of mercy and compassion, but the way God wants sinners back is for them to turn away from their sin. “Do I find pleasure in the death of the wicked--oracle of the Lord God? Do I not rejoice when they turn from their evil way and live?” (Ez 18:23). Mercy is an invitation to repentance, and repentance is the way to life.

Now how about those who want to show mercy and compassion but not talk about sin, and just accept people’s sinful condition (and even try to find positive elements in their sin)? They will be liable. To condone sin is to do evil. It deprives sinners of what is their due, which is forgiveness borne out of repentance. It leads sinners astray, making them comfortable in their sin. “And if the just turn from justice and do evil, like all the abominations the wicked do, can they do this evil and still live?” (Ez 18:24a). This applies to both those who do the evil deeds, and to those, especially those prelates tasked with the pastoral care of God’s people, who in effect condone the evil deeds of others.

But these prelates are just trying to help out, just trying to extend mercy and compassion. You may say, “The Lord’s way is not fair!” (Ez 18:25a). Again, we should all extend mercy and compassion to sinners, but accepting them in their sin and making them comfortable in their sin is not the way. This does not speak of the justice and true mercy of God. This brings false acceptance, because it is acceptance of sin which prevents acceptance by God. To liberals and modernists God says: “Is it my way that is unfair? Are not your ways unfair?” (Ez 18:25b).

What is the way of God for receiving mercy? “May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, Lord, keep account of sins, Lord, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness” (Ps 130:2b-4a). Mercy is manifested by forgiveness which is given to one who repents of sin.

God is merciful, and God wants all to be saved. “For with the Lord is mercy, with him is plenteous redemption” (Ps 130:7b). But how is redemption to come? Is it to extend mercy and compassion while in effect condoning sin? Or is it to extend true mercy and compassion by addressing the sin, bringing sinners to repentance, and thus to salvation? “And he will redeem Israel from all its sins.” (Ps 130:8). Redemption is not about feeling good because one is accepted even in one’s sin. Redemption is always from sin.

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