Recently someone sent me a couple of messages suggesting strongly that I should be ensuring that We as a church speak strongly about the evil of sin and cutting those off who do not adhere to church teaching fully.
Indeed, sin is an evil. As a pastor I need to warn people that sin brings death and not life. Also, there is no doubt that the authentic and full teachings of the church are a wonderful gift.
It is interesting that the people that Jesus spoke most strongly to where the Jewish leaders who were hypocrites and harsh judges of others. They had reduced the law of God to rules and regulations without trying to understand the situations that people found themselves in. They also led the attack against him which led to his crucifixion.
Jesus proclaimed that he came to call sinners, he compared himself to a doctor who brings healing. He did not extinguish the ‘smouldering flame’. He came to bring hope.
Accompanying people is very much the role of a caring pastor. Helping people discover God’s amazing love for them.
Helping people to gradually realise that they have the ability to change and grow. Taking into account the past experiences of a person etc., are part of lovingly walking with a person helping them to respond lovingly to God’s loving invitation.
Catholic teaching is very comprehensive. Fundamentalist and narrow simplistic solutions are not genuinely catholic.
In this holy week we hear the Good Shepherd looking for those who are lost.
We experience the embrace of the Father in the prodigal son story!