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“Jesus lives in this church. It is not a hotel for saints. It’s a hospital for sinners.”

I spent a bit of Easter Sunday Mass trying not to think about (in judgement) all those many people in the church that rarely go to church except on the holidays that require it. They can’t make the time except when some event in their family invites them to the church for a ceremony. And a few years back, I was like them, less invested in my religion than I was in the dishes I was preparing for Easter or Christmas.  But I offered prayers for them that day, hoping that what they saw & felt & heard before, during & after Mass on that beautiful morning would entice them back next week as well.  So when Father Jonathan stepped down from the alter to begin his homily, I fervently hoped he had a sermon that would speak to those people who were resistant or empty, or perhaps afraid, hurting & in need of the balm that fatith truly can be.  He started off stating we are all sinners. He acknowledged that people in religious life sin, that some of the folks listening to him may have turned away from the church for reasons having to do with wrongs perpetrated by priests, nuns or others associated with the Church.  He continued in his soft, friendly voice, leading us all to the realization of Easter as a new beginning. We can all rejoice, because our Lord died for us and if we ask Him,  He forgives us. His Mercy is endless and divine. And even though I have been attending Mass regularly for a few years now, and even though I do invest more of myself in my faith, I needed to hear that. All of us need to hear that. I pray that the closing words of Father’s homily remained with the people who have been depriving themselves of that mercy. “Jesus lives in this church. It is not a hotel for saints. It’s a hospital for sinners.”

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