Bless Me, Father, For He Has Sinned
by Fr. Maximilian Okapal, O.Praem.
“Bless me, father, for I have noticed that my neighbor is a sinner.”
Yes, your neighbor is a sinner. I know that and you know that. It’s not a sin to notice what the Word of God reveals, that all men have sinned. It’s also no great merit.
But there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. Your neighbor, who is—yes, you were right about that—who is a sinner, is by that fact on his way to becoming an icon of mercy.
No matter how far he has fallen to the dark side, there is still good in him. There is always the potential to receive mercy unexpected and unearned. And his entire story will be turned upside down.
You, therefore, can notice that your neighbor needs help without judging him. If he needs your prayers, then pray for him. Why do you look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. Better to consider your own sins and repent and become yourself such a cause of rejoicing among the angels of God.
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