In our Catholic church, you can often hear about ‘a letter of good standing’. A priest that is visiting another diocese wanting to perform any sacrament needs a letter like that, a letter that comes from his bishop confirming that he indeed is a priest and is in good standing, meaning, he wasn’t suspended nor removed. Godparents would need a letter like that from their parish, saying that they are indeed Catholic. Sometimes the confirmation sponsor may need a letter like that, or you may need one for some other reasons. As you can see, some functions in our Church are reserved only for practicing Catholics. I am not questioning that, but did Jesus ever ask for a letter of good standing? We read today that “many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.” And to a sinner, a tax collector named Matthew, He said “Follow me.” I know that letters of good standing are important, but we shouldn’t forget that all people are invited to be followers of Jesus, even though they may be sinners or unbelievers. If we welcome them with respect, instead of only checking the credentials, that may be the only chance for them to encounter Jesus.
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