Last week I was handed an article by one of the Burmese Sisters who attend the old people at St. Catherine Laboure Manor. Sister is doing a course for certification as a parish religious leader. The article was meant to give her guidance in welcoming sinners back to the Church. The author of the article, Father William Malloy S.J. said that in welcoming sinners our main guide should be the way that Jesus dealt with them in the Gospels.
Father Malloy made much of Our Lord’s story of the shepherd who had greater joy over recovering one strayed sheep than he had over the fidelity of the ninety-nine that had never strayed. He also made much of today’s Gospel with Jesus happily sharing a meal with all the town’s sinners, letting each feel how he valued him.
Father Malloy’s also pointed out that although our Catholic training has us seeing sexual lapses as very awful, Jesus hardly ever mentioned them.
As high school kids lapses in sexual matters were almost the only sins we were aware of. When school was out at 3:00 in the afternoon Len, my pal from the First Grade, and I would rush to the first of two streetcars we had to take to get home in time to play some ball before dinner.
It often happened when we were to serve Mass the next day that when we got out of school we couldn’t take the quick way home. One or both of us would have to take the long detour down to confession at the Jesuit Church so we could receive Holy Communion at Mass.
Today’s Gospel tells us that instead of bringing our dirty thoughts or wet dreams to the Jesuit confessional we should have brought them to Jesus in Holy Communion. He is the physician of our souls. And he said, “It is not those who are well that need a physician but those who are sick."