Pope Francis has caused quite an exciting stir among many people these last few years. To me, a person who loves sociology and psychology it is fascinating to watch how utterly predictable the media can be. Well, that is fascinating and utterly frustrating. The pope has said many incredible things that the media has blown way out of proportion and perhaps my favorite was on his way to Rio de Janeiro in 2013 – “Who am I to judge?”
The media, who would find any excuse to further amplify the “gay rights movement” and cause division between Catholics and their fearful leader took this to mean “I advocate for gay rights.” Haha, yeah.
Here is the full context of what our papa said,
“If they (those with same-sex attraction) accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem ... they're our brothers."
How incredibly beautiful that teaching is! And how incredibly similar it is to what St. Paul is charging the Romans to do –
“Why do you pass judgment on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.”
Yes! Each of us will
“give account of himself to God.”
Yet, we spend so much time analyzing and over-analyzing others actions. We seemingly have to decide for ourselves what others deserve. Rather, St. Paul and Pope Francis proclaim that we must be on guard, for we do not know where other’s hearts are. (Note- he never said we shouldn’t proclaim the truth of sexuality.) But, we must always love our brothers and sisters. They must not be marginalized.
Yes, it’s a tricky place to be, for we must remember that Jesus did call out the hypocrites and sinners when they needed to be challenged. But, regardless of their response to that call, He didn’t stop loving them.
“Let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” Romans 14:19
Let us speak with love to our brothers and sisters living in sin.
And let me, too, be open to being spoken to with love when I am living in sin.
Let us teach on another of the fulfillment that only Christ can bring. But, if another responds with disdain, may we not hesitate to continue to love. To keep peace. For, the worst thing that we could do is to teach those in a different place spiritually than our own that Christ (as reflected by Christians) is rude and “pushy.” Non-compassionate and prideful.
He is not, nor should we be.
Ask yourself who that person is in your life that you are tempted to judge or over-analyze their decisions. Remind yourself that we do not know the full disposition of each other’s hearts, and pray for that person specifically today – in all moments – dedicate the day to offering small little sacrifices for them. Offer Mass, a rosary, your daily workout, a “Hail Mary” at lunch… pray for their hearts (and our own) that they may be softened to Christ and that they may know of His healing and fulfilling love.