Monday, March 26, 2012
All Sinners Welcome
When I go home I'm definitely spoiled. Mom and Dad love to cook dinner(or even take me out to a nice restaurant that a typical college kid couldn't afford), my bed has clean sheets when I come home, I get to just lay around and not do much. But when I talk about being spoiled, I'm really talking about my church. If you haven't been to Washington University's catholic church, you really should go.
While on Spring Break this past week I went to church. My parents were out of town and Kelley and Maggie were busy with something else, so I put on a dress, hopped in my car and drove myself to church. I love to get there a little early and just watch. Sometimes the Catholic church is pegged as quiet, formal, and uptight, but the Newman center is anything but that. Sometimes it's hard to hear those with mics on because of everyone is talking to everyone. Each Sunday there is a Gospel question, last week's was "What is the worst thing you have ever done?" Well that shut us all up fast...
Father Gary started out his homily by saying to all of us, "you should be ashamed of yourself." But he turned it around by asking us if anyone has ever told us that, and if they have, they were wrong. Then he pointed out there was a sign that we all walked under to get into the church that says, "All Sinners Welcome". He had me hooked at this point. I was buying whatever he was saying because it was EXACTLY what I think the Catholic Church/any Christian organization should be. Father Gary was speaking about what I was here. We as humans aren't here to judge. We have all sinned, there's no doubting that. We are here to love. (1 Peter 4:8, Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins)
Gary spoke about shame being toxic to your soul, something I talked about here. Being ashamed makes you feel like something is wrong or bad about what you have done as a person. There should be no shame if everyone is a sinner. "There is a difference between shame and healthy guilt" Just because we sin, doesn't mean that we are meant to hide from the world, or the church. Our sin does not define us. What I think is great about Father Gary's homily is that he talks about his church WELCOMING sinners. Just what a church needs to do, welcome those that have sinned because if they didn't no one would be there to sit in their pews or even to give a homily.
What we do when we leave those pews is what counts. If we strive to change the path we once were on, THEN we can be without guilt for past sins.