THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Third Sunday after Pentecost
1 June 2008
The evil doers in this world seldom attack directly, they start rumors of slander and calumny. They do all they can to get the multitude to start murmuring. And this is what has taken place in the gospel today.
"And the Pharisees and the Scribes murmured saying, `This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.'"
These evil men were not offering this information for the edification of their fellow men, on the contrary they wished to scandalize their fellow men so that they would no longer follow Christ.
They have forced (if you will) Christ to come to His own defense. Christ in today's gospel gives the reason for His association with sinners. And in doing so He puts to silence the murmurings of these evil doers on this one topic.
As men, we know that it is not well for us to associate with evil people. Humans are too weak and are easily influenced and led astray by those who do not live according to the will of God. Thus we admonish and even command that those who are subject to us refrain from associations with evil people. But this is not so with God. If God so chooses to associate with sinners, it can only be for the good of the sinner. There could never be any harm or corruption to God.
Thus, Christ in explaining the situation in the parables today shows us clearly that He is God. We have nothing to fear from Christ's association with sinners. It can only be good. Good for the sinner and for the greater honor and glory of God.
This explanation that Christ gives to the evil murmurers does not satisfy them. On the contrary they now can accuse Christ of proclaiming Himself to be God. They persist and insist that Christ must be evil, they will not cooperate with the grace of God and see the truth.
There are still many of these people in the world today. They will see evil even in the greatest good. They prove to be a bothersome bunch because they wish to argue if for no other reason than to waste one's time so that he cannot continue in doing good. How often are we ensnared by this ruse! We try patiently to explain the truth to the evil men only to find out that they are not interested in hearing the truth but are only interested in tying to argue against the truth. Thus we find the truth in the adage: "A fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer."
Today many wonder how it is that God has given them the light and understanding to see the truth when so many others will not or cannot see the truth. None of us are worthy to have such a wondrous treasure. It is purely the grace of God.
Why us? Because God has chosen to use the weak to confound the wise. God takes the weak and does wonderful things with them and there is no doubt that it is truly the work of God and therefore all the honor and glory belong to Him.
Perhaps a little thought on the parables in today's Gospel will give us some insight.
God searches out the lost. Christ came to this earth to save sinners. That is those sinners who realize that they are sinners. God cannot help those who are not humble enough to realize that they are sinners and in need of God's grace. These proud sinners cannot be helped until they cooperate with the grace of God and become humble. But since humility is truth and they are opposed to the truth they are stuck in their errors. It is a vicious cycle: they are proud and cling tenaciously to their errors, and the more they cling to their errors the prouder they become.
Christ leaves all the Angels and Saints in Heaven and comes to this earth to save those who will be saved. Those who are humble as the little lost sheep will be found by God and brought back to the flock (eternal happiness in Heaven). And it is a tremendous thing to be found by Christ. Christ will pick us up and carry us upon His own shoulders to return us to the Church (Heaven). All that is left for us to do is to wish to be found, and not to run away or resist the efforts of Christ to carry us back where we belong.
And when all this is done there will be more rejoicing in Heaven over these lost sheep that are now found _ these sinners that are now saints, more so than over all the others that have never strayed.