“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32).
Francis used this passage from Scripture to rebuke the guardian of one of the houses where the brothers were living. The guardian had driven away a band of thieves from the house and proudly told Francis of his deed.
St. Francis scolded him severely, saying: “You acted in a cruel way, because sinners are led back to God by holy meekness better than by cruel scolding. For our Master Jesus Christ, whose Gospel we have promised to observe, says that the doctor is not needed by those who are well but by the sick, and ‘I have come to call not the just but sinners to penance,’ and therefore He often ate with them. So, since you acted against charity and against the example of Jesus Christ, I order you under holy obedience to take right now this sack of bread and jug of wine which I begged. Go and look carefully for those robbers over the mountains and valleys until you find them. And offer them all this bread and this wine for me. And then kneel down before them and humbly accuse yourself of your sin of cruelty.
We find it difficult to admit when we’re wrong, when we’ve sinned. And it seems the more we try to live good Christian lives, the harder it gets to acknowledge how often we fail. It is that acknowledgment, though, that allows us to find the forgiveness and grace we need to change our lives.
—from the book Lent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections by Diane M. Houdek
3 thoughts on “We’re All Sinners”
This definitely shows how St. Francis took the GOSPEL to extremes.
I suspect the guardian’s intentions were to protect his brothers from potential danger & from loss of what little they had.
I would agree with giving them bread but not wine to fuel drunkenness & bad behavior.
The guardian probably should have met them at the door, given them food for their journey & explained that they were a band of poor brothers serving GOD. Depending on their reaction he could have either invited them in or sent them on their way.
When I examine my own life & my own soul I agree that it is hard for us who have dedicated our lives to living righteous lives, to seeking to please GOD, to obeying the commandments of GOD & the Church, to avoiding all forms of evil, to serving the Church, & to doing our best to love & serve the people the LORD places in our lives to recognize & acknowledge our areas of sinfulness, to see ourselves as sinners & to avoid crossing the line from being righteous to the sin of being self-righteous & to avoid looking down at blatant sinners & seeing ourselves as better than those whose lives are entrenched in sinfulness & addictions.
I think St. Francis was being too harsh with that guardian because the guardian was only doing what he thought was right. Since a Franciscan was in the guardian’s presence in his home, perhaps that changes things and St. Francis was right. But if that Franciscan was not living in that home, then I’m with the guardian’s response. I don’t think one can be naive when it comes to bad people. That’s the world we live in. To expect everyone to be a saint is absurd. If one chooses to be a saint, then ok, then one can be consistent with those Gospel demands. But some people just want to live ordinary lives, and to be left alone. That is, to not be victimized.