There was an excellent meditation in today's Magnificat magazine which explained, in clear and simple language, God's way of salvation, gradually bringing those trapped by sin to repentance and acceptance of Divine love and mercy. It was from a Jewish convert named Ronda Chervin, Below is a screen shot of this meditation.
As I have written time and time again, Jesus never accused sinners. He would hold out his hands to them and let them come to him. Dr. Chervin explains:
He knows that they have the rebellious divided spirit of adolescents—full of longing for genuine love, yet plagued with disappointment, despair, and doubt. He treats them somewhat like an older and experienced man might win the confidence of a wild young girl.We see this when he tells us that his burden is light and his yoke is easy:
Jesus never approaches us with negativity. He is there to lift us up, to bring us into his circle of love, peace and forgiveness. There is never recrimination. Only acceptance and love,
The people followed Jesus in his earthly ministry because they experienced something they had never felt before. This is just as true today, 2000 years later, as Dr. Chervin tells us:
Slowly Christ gathers them to himself by the magnetic attraction of his grace. He wins them by deeds of love, healing them of their miseries, curing their lepers, exorcising their demons. Only when he sees that they are ready does he begin to reveal more intimate mysteries of his love, such as his desire to become one body with his followers and the eventual unity they will achieve with him in eternity.
Once Jesus had assured the people that he truly loved them and wanted to share all that he had with them, he would then start to instruct them in his ways, teaching them a different way of life. But he didn't do it with words of condemnation, but indirectly with parables, as Dr. Chervin explains:
He knows that many of their ways are unloving, but instead of reproaching them directly, he begins by telling them parables, letting them discover for themselves how far short their own lives are from the new ideal.
Finally, after Christ has done everything he can to reach out in love, acceptance and teaching, Dr. Chervin tells us:
Gradually his disciples begin to respond to Christ’s self-giving.Notice that even after Christ has done all he can to reach the people, still it is only "gradually" that they respond to him. And he is patient, waiting for them, always ready to forgive and to walk with them every step of the way as they make the long journey from sinner to saint.
Notice, too, the words "self-giving." People will not respond if they don't believe you care. Everything Jesus said and did reflected his total love for them, the fact that he would and did give his all for them so that they might live. This is why St. Teresa of Calcutta was praised around the world. People saw that she was genuine, that she truly cared for them. It wasn't her intention to condemn them but to lift them up with dignity and respect. This is why people responded to her.
Unless and until we learn these lessons, we will never be true followers of Jesus Christ.