“God loves you as you are, but He loves you too much that He refuses to leave you that way” I love this expression. We can picture God as a loving, generous, and patient parent. As a loving parent, He forgives and has mercy on his children’s shortcomings and failures. But He likewise invites them to live and act to the best of their ability. The Bible teaches us that God pursues us with untiring love. He is rich in mercy. However, one thing He does not tolerate and accept is sin! We see this clearly in the gospels. In John 8, Jesus converses with the woman caught in adultery. By law, she was supposed to be stoned to death. After our Lord intervenes to rescue her, He tells the woman “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on sin no more” (Jn 8:11). Our Lord looks at this woman with mercy and treats her with compassion. However, He tells her to not return to the sin of adultery, but to move forward in faith. Jesus shows mercy, but calls her to rise above sin. The same is true in the call of Matthew. Matthew was a tax collector, which was a profession despised by many. Jesus though, sat with him at table and others who were labeled as big sinners. The Pharisees questioned Jesus, but He responded, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Lk 5:32). Again, our Lord demonstrates His love and care for sinners. He eats and drinks with them. But Jesus reminds us that He calls them to leave sin behind and change for the better. We believe that Jesus continues to reach out to sinners. He offers us the sacred meal of His Body and Blood from the altar at every Mass. He invites us to a personal relationship to follow Him more closely, free from the chains of sin.
In our lives, maybe we know friends and family who are Catholic by name, but not really by practice. Perhaps we know people who are currently not living according to gospel values. In my own opinion, we still offer them our respect. I believe our primary role is not to bring them to church right away, but to bring them Jesus Christ. I try my best to say this message whenever I visit families. We offer them the good news! Jesus is the only person who can transform someone. Only He can give them life and freedom. He has opened the way to everlasting life by His death and resurrection for us. We journey together, while examining our own shortcomings and relationship with the Lord. We are confident that Christ loves us. He seeks us with untiring love, telling us, “I love you, but I love you too much that I refuse to just leave you this way. Rise above sins and follow me”