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(Part 94)


October 6, 2015

Today’s readings:
Jonah 3:1-10
Psalm 130:1-8
Luke 10:38-42

We are all sinful people. “If you, Lord, keep account of sins, Lord, who can stand?” (Ps 130:3). This is why we need to look to God’s mercy. “May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.” (Ps 130:2b). The good news is that God will hear and will act. “But with you is forgiveness” (Ps 130:4a).

But forgiveness and mercy cannot be given just like that. What is needed is repentance. There was great wickedness in Nineveh, but when Jonah preached God’s word, “the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.” (Jon 3:5). They would “call loudly to God .... turn from their evil way ....” (Jon 3:8). What was the result? In turn, God would “turn from his blazing wrath, so that we will not perish.” (Jon 3:9).

If we repent of sin, then God will forgive. “For with the Lord is mercy” (Ps 130:7b). Then we will be redeemed from our sinful state, restored to our relationship with God, and have the assurance of making it to heaven to live eternally with Him, for “with him is plenteous redemption” (Ps 130:7c).

The brewing conflict in the Synod is between the liberals who will use mercy and compassion in a bid to reach out to those in sinful irregular unions and the conservatives who do indeed accept the extension of mercy and compassion to them, but with repentance for sin. The liberals look to the social situation of those who are poor and marginalized, the conservatives look to their spiritual situation. Both are important for Christians, to look to the body as well as the soul. But the spiritual is always the better part.

We look to the sisters Martha and Mary. Martha was “burdened with much serving” (Lk 10:40a) while Mary just “sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.” (Lk 10:39). Martha complained to Jesus about Mary. Jesus replied, “There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Lk 10:42). Martha, in looking to the social need of Jesus, of course did good. But Mary, in looking to the spiritual inputs of Jesus, did better.

This shows us the way to handling both the social and spiritual dimensions of our life in Christ.

  • We in CFC-FFL do not truncate our spiritual discussion or sharing in favor of the fellowship or socializing portion of the household meeting.
  • We in CFC-FFL and LCSC do not do a massive work of building communities among the poor without also bringing values formation and spiritual renewal.
  • Nuns do not do all sorts of work with the poor but then favor contraception, same-sex unions or women’s ordination.
  • Bishops do not just concern themselves about immigration and climate change but without an even greater concern for the assault on faith, family and life.
  • Nations do not help out with massive relief efforts during calamities but insist on providing condoms to victims.
  • Prelates in the Synod do not extend mercy and compassion to those in irregular and sinful situations without helping them to repent of their sin.

May our Lord show us all the true path of mercy and compassion. May the Lord bring us to life-giving repentance. “And he will redeem Israel from all its sins.” (Ps 130:8).

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