“The Church which ‘goes forth’ is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice. An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (1 Jn 4;19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast. Such a community has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy. Let us try a little harder to take the first step and to become involved. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. The Lord gets involved and he involves his own, as he kneels to wash their feet. He tell his disciples: ‘You will be blessed if you do this.’ (Jn 13;17) An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s lives, it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others. Evangelizers thus take on the ‘smell of the sheep’ and the sheep are willing to hear their voice.” (24)
A couple of days ago the head of the bishop conference in Italy proposed that divorce and remarried Catholics can receive communion. It was interesting reading people reactions to this statement. I think our responses says something about how we approach the outsider who is looking for mercy. My point in mentioning this is not to test the orthodoxy of the bishop comment. I will let the the Holy Spirit, pope, bishops, priests and lay people sort that out.
Thoughts for the day. A Christian community has an endless desire to show mercy. Do we have an endless desire to show mercy? Do we build bridges? Do we smell like the sheep?