Sinners and/or Saints
A non-practicing Christian rationalizes to his minister that the reason he does not go to church is that he cannot stand the number of hypocrites and sinners he sees and meets during the church celebrations. The minister retorts to him: “There is room for another one, you know…”
It is really unavoidable that the Church should gather together sinners and saints, if any. Through the centuries, the Church has always been a mixed bag of saints and sinners. Of course, sinners must try to stop being sinners and become better with all the help and supports the Church can offer, including the sacraments, the preaching of the Word of God, spiritual counseling, recollections and retreats. As long as we continue to be what we are, that is, human beings, the Church will always be like a treatment center with lots of spiritually injured or sick people being cared for.
In our journey of life, we learn more from our mistakes and failures than from our achievements and successes. When failures and mistakes become learning opportunities, we grow and mature. Failures make us grounded in our humanity, transforming our pride and prejudice into humility and thoughtfulness.
The original apostles of Jesus had many failings while they were being formed by Jesus. They were hard-headed, ambitious and quarrelsome. They abandoned Jesus when he needed them most. This is the Church we belong to, a collection of poor sinners. May this reality not discourage us from turning to Christ, our hope and our salvation. He himself declared that he came for us, sinners. “I have come to call not the self-righteous, but sinners.” Let us take courage at the thought that the moment we admit our sinfulness, we discover and find Jesus, our faithful doctor, at our side. And we also find Mary at our side to whom we say: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” And to Jesus, our Saviour, we say: “Lord Jesus, have mercy on us, sinners.”
As it is said: “Even saints have their past; we, sinners, have our future…”