Follow the Christ of the Gospels, Not Your Own “Rules”
Tony Meehan, Cape Town – Your editorial, “The Pope of the Gospel”, again celebrates the wisdom and sagacity of our Holy Father. Further to this, was his simple yet profound phrase, “Who am I to judge”, when responding to questions about whether there was a “gay lobby” in the Vatican.
Unfortunately, many of us still misunderstand the teachings of Christ. How easily we feed our self-serving prejudices. How we condemn others by claiming, “the Bible says” or “Canon Law rules”?
Our Commandments Are Not For Standing in Judgement
As we “wash our hands up to the elbows” and insist that others do the same, we forget that the Commandments and Canon Law were written for us, and not for our abuse in standing in judgment of others.
Jesus deals with this clearly in Mk 7:7 when he is taken to task by the Pharisees about the disciples not upholding “the traditions of the elders”: “How rightly Isaiah prophesied about you hypocrites,” Jesus says.
Another contentious matter is whether divorced “sinners” should be allowed to receive Holy Communion. Perhaps, once again, we could refer to the mercy of Jesus. Not only did he invite his betrayer to the Last Supper, he knew full well that Judas was most definitely not “in a state of grace”.
One wonders what advice we would offer Jesus at Jacob’s Well? Firstly, he speaks to a Samaritan woman. Secondly, he is not supposed to speak to any woman without her husband being present.
“You are a Jew. How is it that you ask me, a Samaritan, for something to drink?” No shortage of arrogance in this shady lady? Yet, she focuses on upholding “the law (tradition)” and Jesus does not.
Reads the Gospels!
Now, in our modern world, we have to deal with all sorts of mixed-up “sinners”. So, what’s to be done? As a start, we should take the Catechism and Canon Law, read them thoroughly, and then confine them to some or other archive.
Thereafter, let’s get back to basics and read the four Gospels (aloud) and open our hearts and minds with a view to following Christ. That’s it! Mission accomplished.
We will never again need to burden ourselves with gay folk who go to Mass with their drug-addict, transvestite friends or the divorcée receiving Holy Communion.
We may even become humble enough to drop our stones into the sand and “eat with sinners and tax collectors”.
Heaven can only be gained by “charity and mercy”, not by revealing and condemning the sins of others, for whatever Pharisaical reason.
“Who am I to judge?” God bless you, Pope Francis.