Jews, Conversion, and Mercy: Getting It All Wrong
After writing my article on the Year of Mercy and how we should all ensure we make good use of Confession, I spent some time reflecting on how many people misuse mercy and confuse it with neglect. Mercy is always freely given, but mercy can only be given if the recipient is contrite and asking for it. Mercy, when given away without the call for conversion is not mercy at all, but rather, leniency.
At dinner the other night, my son was not cooperating and didn’t eat much. He spent the majority of dinner picking at his food and throwing it on the floor. My wife and I told him he needed to eat his food, but alas, he didn’t want to. After dinner, he walked over to where we kept the desserts and began pointing at them. One part of me wanted to give him some dessert, in an act of “mercy”. However, it was obvious that if I gave him the dessert, he would not learn his lesson that he needs to eat his dinner before getting his dessert. This false mercy would not benefit him in the long run, but rather, it would teach him that if he doesn’t like what is on his plate, he can ignore it and get the rewards.
Now, this false mercy is all too prevalent in both society and the Church today. The call for mercy extends to every sinner imaginable. God’s mercy is available to all, but for Him to give us His mercy, we must first repent of our sins, confess them to a priest, and amend ourselves to live a holy life. Without the intent of the penitent, mercy can not begin to enter into the sinner’s life. And far too often when we hear about the need for mercy, it is not with this intention in mind, but for the sinner to be left alone to their sins because it makes them happy, and after all, isn’t that what Christ wanted, our happiness?
Jesus Christ did, of course, dine with sinners and prostitutes, he was even seen out in public with them, but every time he was with them, it wasn’t about hanging out with friends and accepting people for how they were, but to urge them to repent and amend their lives. We see Our Lord’s urging with the woman at the well, after He tells her everything that she has done in her life, and then proceeds to explain that He is the Messiah, in which she goes into town and tells all the people about Him and becomes a disciple.
There is also the infamously misused quote “he without sin cast the first stone”, which today has been hijacked to silence those who speak out against sin. What they fail to realize, whether it’s through their ignorance or malice, is Jesus told the woman to “go forth and sin no more.”
Jesus makes it very clear throughout the Gospel that 1). We are to follow Him, 2). There is no way to the Father but through Him, 3).He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, 4). Unless you eat His flesh and drink His blood, you do not have life within you, 5). You are to go preaching the Gospel to all the nations, making them disciples by baptizing them in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and 6). There is only one Church, which He founded.
With this in mind, it is heartbreaking to hear that leading theologians within the Vatican have announced that it is unCatholic and antisemitic to proclaim the Gospel to the Jews, implying they are saved and thus do not need Jesus. Sadly, this is not true in the slightest and every single person on this Earth is in need of the saving grace of Jesus Christ, who was crucified, died, and rose again, so that we all might have eternal life.
The Jews crucified Jesus by handing Him over to Pilate. The Jews rejected Jesus when He announced that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. Once Jesus was crucified, the covenant with the Jews was broken, and they were no longer the chosen people.
While Catholics have many roots in Judaism, we do not follow the Judaic laws that were made by Moses, but only those which Jesus came to fulfill. At one point the Jews did worship the same God as us, but once God made known that He was not simply Father, but rather Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Jews rejected the Son. And by doing so, rejected the Father, as Jesus said “whoever denies me before men, I will deny before my Father” (c.f. Matthew 10:33).
It is sad to hear how many Catholic prelates and theologians have thrown away the teachings of Our Lord to appeal to this God-forsaken world. These men, who have been entrusted to safeguard the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church, fail God and the laity when they poison the wells.
Continue to pray for conversions, to evangelize, to teach, to preach, and to live a holy life. We must be ready to preach mercy in the way that God teaches us, that those sinners who readily repent and confess their sins will indeed receive that wondrous mercy that only God can give.