By Sarah Mac Donald - 02 May, 2016
“Pope Francis doesn't set out to change the teaching of Jesus or say that in life’s choices anything goes; yet he constantly reaches out to those who find that teaching hard.”
We live in a world where we often judge things and people in black and white, where we would like simple yes or no answers on subjects which are much more complex than we wish to admit, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said this weekend.
At a Mass in St Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Dublin to welcome the Icon of Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help, the Archbishop referred to the day’s readings and said the tensions evident in the early Church are still to be found today twenty-one centuries later.
In his homily, Archbishop Martin said there are those who are fearful and wish for a world in which rules, as regards the Christian life, should be set out and rules applied and rules obeyed.
He added that the problem with this is that very often when we look more closely at those who would wish to see rules applied, they are often talking about their own rules, rather than the saving message of Jesus Christ.
“All of us are sinners; all of us need to respond to the call of conversion. To think otherwise is to fall into arrogance. We are all sinners. Jesus teaches about sin; however Jesus does not wish us to fall into a climate of fear and negativity. His mercy is always there to reach out to us when we fail,” the Archbishop said.
In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Church leader commented, Pope Francis wants all of us to reflect on God’s mercy.
“Pope Francis does not set out to change the teaching of Jesus Christ or to say that in life’s choices anything goes; yet he constantly reaches out to those who find that teaching hard to realise in their own lives.”
Recalling Pope Francis’ description of himself as a sinner, Archbishop Martin said that “A Pope who considers himself in the first place a sinner will never be arrogant and harsh in his judgement of other sinners.”
“Even more important, a sinner who has experienced God’s mercy in the face of his own sinfulness will appreciate how that mercy – and not condemnation – is the path which can help others to reach the fullness of God’s teaching.”
He reminded the faithful that Pope Francis, in another text, has said that the Christian life is not “a never falling down”, but “an always getting up again, thanks to [the hand of God] which catches us”.