Spirituality in Action - Admonish the Sinner
by Deacon Thomas Frankenfield
Continuing our Journey
Thanks to all who have offered prayers and thoughts on my various medical procedures. All is well and I am back with a better appreciation of the prayers from the People of God.
Admonish the Sinner
The third of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is the call for us to admonish the sinner. In today’s world this is one of the great challenges to our Christian Community. We need to look evil deeds squarely in the eye and challenge it—admonish it. Jesus instructed us in the gospels, "If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. (Mat 18:15) Jesus is calling us to have the strength to admonish. This Spiritual Work of Mercy underscores the vision of our Baptism, where we are called to make God present in the world. Identifying sin and correcting it is a major mitigating action of the believer to clear a path to make the Lord present to a hurting world.
The Evil of Moral Relativism
Without a doubt, there are many elements in the world today. One has to look no further than our media, to see how the modern culture affirms almost any behavior. Few in the public arena will set down and then stick to moral standards. Examples are abundant, some say abortion is understandable under certain circumstances and others see cheating as just the way to get by in the business world. I am sure you can name many others. Regardless of the transgression, we baptized Christians are called to admonish anyone who takes part in any sin as we saw above in the Mat: 18:15 quote. (What is ironic is that because we are all sinners in our own right, it becomes an immense responsibility.)
The battle against relativism is a major thrust of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. In April of 2005 as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict specifically attacked moral relativism. Pope Benedict described relativism as the major evil facing the church. We need to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the Holy Father and condemn this evil.
Our Daily Journey to Live the Righteous Life
This reflection is a call to action for the baptized. Make God present to your world! Do your best to do the right things! Avoid the trap of not making judgments against evil. After all, those who do not identify and correct sinners participate in the evil of moral relativism. Think about it!
For Your Reflection
From a Ministry Perspective:
- Are there particular persons in my ministry with whom I struggle because of their sinful actions? Can I reach out to be an agent of love for that person(s) and talk to them about sin?
- Where do I personally fail because of my sinful actions? How can I make my world more Christ-like?
From a Family Perspective:
- In my Domestic Church, as parent, sibling, widow or single, are there persons with whom I struggle because of their sinful actions? Can I reach out to be an agent of love for that person(s) and talk to them about sin?
- In what areas in my Domestic Church do I look the other way because of sinful actions? How can I make my Domestic Church more Christ-like?
I would love your feedback, thoughts, stories and ideas. Please email me.
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