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The Repentent Sinner as a Sign of Hope

I was preparing for our The Apostles study group and was struck by Pope Benedict’s reflection on the Apostle Matthew:

A first fact strikes one based on these references: Jesus does not exclude anyone from his friendship. Indeed, precisely while he is at table in the home of Matthew-Levi, in response to those who expressed shock at the fact he associated with people who had so little to recommend them, he made the important statement: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The Good news of the Gospel consists precisely of this: offering God’s grace to the sinner!

We are all sinners yet each of us is offered God’s grace. There is no sin from which we cannot repent and be forgiven. Just like the woman who committed adultery, Jesus wants to tell each of us, “Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more.”

The annals of the saints are filled with those who started out life in a much less than holy manner yet found their way back and attained sanctity. St. Augustine immediately comes to mind. As I have read various blog posts about the March for Life, I have run across a few comments suggesting many marchers are hypocrites because they themselves have had abortions. (Granted, most of these comments come from abortion supporters.) Rather than making such a harsh judgment, I suggest we rejoice because someone has responded to God’s offer of grace and repented of his sins. Rather than dismissing these voices we should garner much hope from them. We too, with God’s grace, can “do penance, sin no more, and avoid all that leads us to sin.”

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