We are all sinners in need of forgiveness

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By Fr Robin Gibbons/ indcatholicnews.com

"Let whoever is simple turn in here;
To the one who lacks understanding, she (Wisdom) says,
Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed!
Forsake foolishness that you may live;
advance in the way of understanding."(Proverbs 9:4-6.)

If anybody tells you they know all about God, listen with a careful ear, they may be telling the truth, but if ever they suggest that they know what God wants; then I'd take what they say with a healthy dose of good-humoured scepticism. I wouldn't dare to pretend that I know what God wants, all I can point to is what the Prophets and Jesus have assured me is the will of God, and that is always rooted in compassion and mercy.

Why then in the Church of all communities, do we discover the rawness of human sin so evident in the structures and behavior of its people?

How do we get things so wrong? The straightforward answer is that we are not yet saints, a community of sinner's on-the-way, we hope, to full redemption by following the Gospel Lord. We haven't yet made it, but we are full of hope!
Yes, hope is a desperately needed virtue in world and Church at the moment.

I shudder when I read some of the appalling blogs and comments about the way the Church is and how it should be put right. Too often the comments smack of an inward self-absorption, but also of angry people hurting. These exchanges also remind me of those words of Jesus 'to beware', to be cautious about who or what we listen to, and actively seek proper discernment about what their message:

"Watch out for false prophets who come to you in sheep's' clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit". (Mt 7:15-17)

This is why we have great need of good men and women who are spiritual pilgrims to help us discern the way, warn us away from the bad fruit and false prophets clamoring for our attention these days! At the heart of discernment is Wisdom; that Holy Wisdom, God at work in our minds and hearts. Holy Wisdom which is the simplicity of God's merciful compassion for all living things. As Teresa of Avila puts it succinctly: "The closer one approaches to God, the simpler one becomes."

But we need strength for our mission of proclaiming the truth, hearing the Word, so that we may help others discern the true Christ in their midst. The nourishment we need for this type of journey with God is given to us in abundance if we could but recognize it; in the Eucharist, in the sacramental celebrations along our life's way, in the living Word found in the Scriptures and in the love of God found in our engagement with others.

Yes, we are all sinners, in need of forgiveness; today the Church is being called to a painful but necessary road of humility and service in order that the voice of Christ may be heard. Let us pray that we may fully be open to Holy Wisdom and the gift of the Spirit.

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