Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”
We all have, swarming around us, countless number of demons. We all have our temptations. We all have our weaknesses. We all stumble. We all fall. We all make mistakes. We all lose our temper or are quick to judge. We can all point at a sinner. We can all have a double standard: one for me and another for the rest of the world. We can easily think our sins are not nearly as bad as others. We all are shocked or amazed when we find ourselves in the same situation as the one I used to judge! We all are in need of a Savior. We all are in need of forgiveness, but we do not all ask for it!
What does the Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ, do best? Two things: it seeks sinners and seeks to readily release Christ’s forgiveness of sins. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His mercy endures forever!”
We are in very bad economic times. Here at St. Joseph we receive countless requests for financial assistance, shelter, material help and prayers. It seems as though there is an endless amount of need out there. Of course, we would love to help everyone. We cannot always do what we would love to do. As I have mentioned before, we get the good, the bad and the ugly.
Recently, a young woman begged me to help her get some much needed medicine. She had no money and was asking for sixty-six dollars. I didn’t even ask her what type of medicine she needed. I trusted her. Plus, I had just received a worthy donation from a parishioner for these types of request. So, I thought, this was surely a sign from God that we needed to help her. I gave her the cash and asked her for a receipt. I told her specifically that I needed a receipt from her. She agreed and thanked me. I was so happy to see her come back the next day with a receipt. But the receipt was not from a drug store. The receipt was handwritten, and from her hand. I actually saw her write it out. I politely told her that I needed a receipt from the store – the actual receipt. She apologized and promised me that she would bring me the receipt immediately. That was almost one month ago and I have not seen her since.
How sad. How very sad. Not so much because she didn’t come back, but because she didn’t ask for forgiveness. Is she a greater sinner than I? Is she stealing from Christ’s money bag and using it for selfish purposes? Yes! But how often have I done the same thing? How often have I used my talents or time for selfish purposes rather than for Christ’s purposes?
Of course we have had to change our policies and can no longer help individuals directly. Those who are truly in need will suffer the consequences. But, I really feel sad for this individual who no longer feels as though she is welcomed at our parish. Instead of returning to the Lord, she has distanced herself from him. She has become not only poor in material things, but also poor in the spiritual things. The Lord said, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather in his conversion that he may live!”
Our God is an awesome God - even when we are not so awesome! Thank God!