Some Harsh Truths About Being a Leader

By Lolly Daskal

Many people think of leadership as a glorified profession, one with impressive titles and lots of prestige and benefits. That may or may not be the case, but every level of leadership involves some hard truths. If you’re already in leadership, you likely know these all too well already, but if you’re aspiring to a leadership role, or if you work with a leader, keep them in mind:

Leadership means sacrifice. Leadership at its core is about sacrifice of self-interest. True leadership is other-focused—it’s about investing in other people to help them succeed, even at the expense of your own interests. You have to put your personal priorities away and work for the good of your people.

Leadership means constantly being judged. People are especially judgmental of their boss. Every decision you make—from promotions to project assignments to office decor—is subject to scrutiny. You have to learn not to take it personally, and that’s not always easy.

Leadership means having to be strong for others. People come to their leader with all kinds of challenges and burdens, and it’s part of your charge to always be strong and looking out for them. Making sure that people feel supported and provided for takes an enormous amount of perseverance.

Leadership means carrying the load. You may not have a sign on your desk that says “The Buck Stops Here,” but if you’re in leadership, it does stop with you. You’re in charge so you have to take responsibility, even when the burden is difficult.

Leadership means making people unhappy. There will always be people who don’t support your ideas and initiatives, and some of those people may actively oppose you or be upset with your choices. You truly cannot make everyone happy or have everyone like you. The best you can do is to be honest and consistent in yourself.

Leadership means failing visibly. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone has failures. But when a leader fails, they fail in full view of the entire team. Bad judgment calls and missteps, large or small, are right there. Everyone knows about them; there’s nowhere to hide and no excuses that will help.

Leadership means being mindful of your influence. As a leader you need to pay attention to everything that comes out of your mouth. Your words matter, whether you’re addressing a large group, in a small meeting, or telling a joke in the hall. People will be paying attention to what you say and how you say it.

Leadership means liking your people, even the difficult ones. As a leader, your first priority is the people who work for you, even the most difficult, the most challenging, the most unpersonable. It’s a priority that can be tough to maintain.

Being a leader is not for the weak. You’re constantly scrutinized, judged and held to a higher standard than most people. Great leaders always find a way to make it work—and that’s what makes them great leaders.

Lead from within: There’s no manual for leadership, no five-step process that will give you the answers. You have to sort out how to be a great leader by doing it and being it

Could This Be True About Vaccines?

Four Decades of Deceit and Covering Up Vaccine Injuries and Deaths Leads to Mistrust of American Public Regarding Experimental COVID Vaccine

September 24, 2020

Vaccination: What’s Trust Got to Do with It?

by Barbara Loe Fisher
National Vaccine Information Center

As the National Vaccine Information Center prepares to host the three day, three night Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination that will be broadcast online Oct. 16-18, 2020, the theme we have chosen is Protecting Health and Autonomy in the 21st Century, because at no time in modern history has it been more important for all of us to take a stand and do just that.

This year, the orchestrated actions by governments around the world to restrict or eliminate civil liberties in response to the emergence of a new coronavirus has been unprecedented, and it has had profound effects on the global economy and on the physical, mental and emotional health of billions of people. 1

By mid-September 2020, there were about 29 million cases of the new Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-2) reported worldwide with about 925,000 associated deaths.

The United States, the third most populated country in the world at 330 million people, had recorded over seven million cases and 198,000 deaths, with an estimated 598 deaths per million people, which is a higher death rate pthan Sweden, 2where health officials have refused to order masking or lock down the country and allowed the population to acquire natural herd immunity to the virus. 3 4

Overall COVID-19 Mortality Less Than One Percent

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the overall mortality rate for the new SARS coronavirus causing COVID-19 is about 0.6 percent, 5 although some scientists say it is lower, 6 while others estimate it can be as high as one to two percent in some parts of the world. 7

Compared to Ebola with a 50 percent mortality rate 8or smallpox, at 30 percent; 9 tuberculosis at 20 to 70 percent; 10 diphtheria at 5 to 10 percent; 11 or the 1918 influenza pandemic with a 2.5 percent mortality rate, 12 COVID-19 is near the bottom of the infectious diseases mortality scale with a less one percent mortality rate in most countries.

Those at highest risk for complications and death include the elderly and those with one or more poor health conditions. 13

The CDC recently reported that only six percent of COVID-19-related deaths were solely due to coronavirus infection and 94 percent of the people who died also had influenza or pneumonia; heart, lung or kidney disease; high blood pressure; diabetes, or another underlying poor health condition. 14

Most studies suggest it is rare for children to suffer complications and die from COVID-19. 15

But seven months after the World Health Organization 16 declared a coronavirus pandemic, 17 and public health officials persuaded lawmakers to turn the world upside down, a lot of people are asking questions and so are doctors who disagree with each other about the facts.

Questions like:

Where did the new respiratory virus come from?

The most popular narratives about the mutated coronavirus is that it either jumped out of a bat or another animal in a Chinese wet food market 18 19 or escaped out of a biohazard lab in 2019, 20 21 but scientists continue to argue about which scenario is more likely. 22

And this question:

If I wear a cloth facemask, does it really prevent me from getting infected with or transmitting COVID-19?

There is an ongoing debate in the medical community about whether it is a good idea for all healthy children and adults to wear cloth masks when they leave their home. 23

In March 2020, the US Surgeon General ordered the American public to stop buying and wearing masks because “they are not effective in preventing general public from catching coronavirus” 24 and “actually can increase the spread of coronavirus,” which was the position of the World Health Organization. 25

But in April, the CDC walked back its “do not mask” order and urged all healthy Americans to voluntarily wear homemade cloth face coverings when entering public spaces. 26

In June, the World Health Organization was continuing to say that,

“At the present time, the widespread use of masks everywhere is not supported by high-quality scientific evidence, and there are potential benefits and harms to consider…Masks on their own will not protect you from COVID-19.” 27

But by June, a number of state Governors and local governments had mandated facemask wearing and an epidemic of mask shaming had begun, 28 29 which led to public protests against masking mandates.30

In August, the CDC doubled down and expanded face masking directives to include all children over the age of two, 31 while the World Health Organization warned that children under the age of six should not wear masks but children over age 12 should. 32

So confusion reigns. While some scientists are saying that if all healthy people are forced to wear face masks it will not stop the coronavirus pandemic and gives a dangerous and false illusion of safety, 33 other scientists are demonizing the refusers, alleging that people refusing to mask up are “sociopathic” and have lower levels of empathy. 34

About 30 U.S. states require masking for young children and adults who enter public spaces, 35 and some states are leveling steep fines of up to $1,000 or threatening jail time for anyone who fails to comply. 36

Washington state has made not wearing a mask in public a misdemeanor crime 37 and central Texas officials say they wish they could put people in prison for refusing to wear a mask. 38

More than 50 countries in the world now require people to cover their faces when they leave home and some do fine and imprison people who go outside without wearing a mask. 39

So what about getting tested for COVID-19? The CDC says that people should get tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the infection.

There is also an antibody test to identify whether or not you have been infected in the past. 40

But lab tests are not always reliable and people are asking this logical question:

If I get a lab test, will it accurately identify if I am currently infected or have been infected with COVID-19 in the past?

Unfortunately, it’s not clear how accurate any of the tests are, especially the antibody test for past infection because the presence of antibodies may not be the only way to measure immunity. 41

The best guess is that the range of reported false negative results for the nasal swab test is between two and 50 percent, and the reported false negative results for the antibody blood test is up to 30 percent, depending upon when during or after the infection testing is performed. 42

In July, a state lab in Connecticut admitted that 90 out of 144 people tested during a 30 day period – most of them nursing home residents – were inaccurately informed they were infected because of faulty, false positive lab tests. 43

In August, 77 football players in the National Football league were given false positive test results when, after retesting, all the tests came back negative. 44

People are also wondering about what happens after they get COVID-19, asking this question:

If I recover from COVID-19 will I only get temporary immunity or will I have long-term immunity against re-infection?

The CDC says it is unknown how long immunity lasts or whether you can get the new coronavirus infection twice. 45

However, last spring researchers found that out of 68 uninfected persons, the blood from one third of them contained helper T-cells that recognized the mutated SARS coronavirus.

They concluded the presence of these defensive helper T cells gives evidence for some residual immunity that may have been produced after common cold infections caused by other types of coronaviruses. This, the scientists said, “bodes well for the development of long-term protective immunity.” 46

Another important study was published in the medical literature in August providing evidence for robust memory T cell immune responses in people who had recovered from even mild or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 but had no detectable virus-specific antibodies. 47

If people can have strong immune responses without symptoms and traditional antibody tests for proof of immunity don’t apply to COVID-19, public health officials may be underestimating the extent of population-level herd immunity that already exists in the U.S., where there have been more cases reported than anywhere else.

COVID-19 Public Health Laws A Public Relations Disaster

While doctors debate the science, it is becoming clearer that the response to the new coronavirus infection by government health officials has been a public relations disaster.

The anxiety, fear, and chaos created by regulations instituted by most governments after the declaration of a COVID-19 pandemic in March 2019 has torn the fabric of societies and affected public opinion about public health laws and vaccination. 48

Now the people are being told that there is one – and only one – simple solution to resolving the crisis and getting back to normal: that is, the only way we can take off our masks and touch, hug, kiss, or come close to each other again 49 50 51 52 53 54 is for every person living in every country to get injected with one of the liability-free COVID-19 vaccines being fast tracked to market. 55 56 57 58 59

In April, World Health Organization officials at the United Nations launched a global initiative “to end the Covid-19 pandemic, ”proclaiming that, “no one is safe until everyone is safe.”60 By May, they were warning that if every person in the world doesn’t get injected with a COVID-19 vaccination, the virus “may never go away.” 61

The World Health Organization, 62 US government 63 64 65 66 and lawmakers in the European Union, 67 along with wealthy and politically powerful non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the Gates Foundation, 68 69 70 GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, 71 and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) 72 have given the pharmaceutical industry tens of billions of dollars to develop and fast track experimental coronavirus vaccines to market and promote their universal use. 73 74

At the same time, governments have given pharmaceutical companies a liability shield from lawsuits when COVID-19 vaccines injure or kill people. 75 76

The hard sell is on, but a lot of people are not buying it.

People Are Rejecting the COVID-19 Vaccine Sales Pitch

Every poll taken this year has revealed that between 40 and 70 percent of people living in the U.S. and Europe don’t plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is licensed. 77 78 79 80 81 82

Populations in developed countries are resisting the siren call for “solidarity,” as doubt about COVID-19 vaccines is becoming more common in developing counties, too. 83

Apparently, the pushback by a wary public has taken government officials by surprise.

Apparently, they were banking that the economic and social deprivation, fear and chaos surrounding lockdowns would produce a bull market for experimental mRNA and DNA COVID-19 vaccines using technology that never has been licensed for humans. 84

It is widely acknowledged now that a solid two-thirds of Americans or more will “just say no” to getting injected with a vaccine containing lab altered parts of a new coronavirus that scientists admit they still don’t know much about, 85 vaccines that preliminary clinical trials have revealed may well cause more than just a few minor reactions. 86

A frustrated top U.S. health official has name-called Americans, who refuse to go along with public health policies and laws, calling them “anti-science” and “anti-authority.” 87 88

The truth is, people in this country and many others just don’t have confidence in the quality and quantity of the science or government health officials they are being told to trust. 89

Angry that a growing number of people are reluctant to roll up their sleeves for a vaccine that is being rushed to market at “warp speed,” public health officials, 90 billionaire Silicon Valley technocrats, 91 92 93 doctors, attorneys and bioethics professors, 94 95 96 97 98 and politicians 99 are beating the drum for swift enactment of “no exceptions” mandatory vaccination laws as soon as COVID-19 vaccines are licensed. 100

Already, some cheerleaders at leading universities are banging that drum for approving and using experimental COVID-19 vaccines even before testing is done, 101 and are calling for young, healthy people to be the first to get the vaccine because it is their “civic duty” to protect everyone else. 102

They warn that “herd immunity may not be achieved if people refuse to take the coronavirus vaccine, 103 104 and say that, in order to keep society “safe,” laws must be passed to threaten and coerce you and your minor children to get vaccinated or face crippling social sanctions that will effectively take away your liberty and destroy your life. 105

People in U.S. and Other Nations Rise Up to Protest Lockdowns, Defending Freedom

This summer, huge public demonstrations defending freedom in Berlin, 106 London, 107 Paris 108 and Copenhagen saw tens of thousands of citizens gather to protest masking 109 and other oppressive coronavirus lockdown policies, which have severely restricted normal physical contact between people, caused widespread unemployment, 110 and harmed their physical, mental and emotional health. 111

Like in Europe, people living in Canada, 112 Australia 113 114 and New Zealand 115 also are resisting months of social distancing policies that have eliminated fundamental human rights, such as freedom of speech and assembly.

The U.S. has seen similar but smaller public demonstrations opposing forced masking, social distancing and lockdown laws and defending freedom in Virginia, 116 Pennsylvania, 117 Wisconsin, 118 Michigan, 119California 120 and other states, as record numbers of Americans struggle with unemployment, 121 122 the destruction of small middle class businesses, 123 mortgage defaults 124 and bankruptcy filings; 125steep increases in anxiety and depression, 126 127 drug and alcohol addiction, 128 child and spousal abuse, 129 and divorce. 130

Social Sanctions for Failure to Get Vaccinated May Align with Lockdown Sanctions

The punishing social sanctions being talked about if you refuse a COVID-19 vaccination are likely to be enforced using government-operated electronic tracking systems linked to digital “immunity passports” that require you to “prove” you are immune to the new SARS coronavirus before you are allowed to work in an office building or enter other public spaces. 131 132 133 134

These social sanctions for failure to vaccinate may closely resemble the types of social interaction restrictions enforced in the U.S. and other countries over the past year.

In the U.S., most public health laws, including vaccine laws, are enacted by the states, 135 while the federal government makes vaccine use recommendations and can mandate vaccines for people crossing national or state borders.

Local city and county governments also can impose their own public health regulations. 136

That is why some states and cities have seen very restrictive COVID-19 pandemic masking 137 and lockdown regulations 138 and others have been more open. 139

So whether or not you will be punished for refusing to get a COVID-19 shot next year primarily will be determined by your state’s Governor and the representatives who have been elected to make laws in your state Capitol. 140

Depending upon where you live and the political philosophy of the majority of representatives in your state legislature, after the COVID-19 vaccine is licensed by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended by the CDC for use by all children and adults, 141 if you refuse to get a COVID-19 shot, you could be blocked from: 142

  • Being employed and going to work in an office
  • Getting and education
  • Obtaining a driver’s license or passport
  • Boarding a train or other public transportation
  • Attending a sports game or concert
  • Entering a store, restaurant, bar, coffee shop or nail salon
  • Booking an appointment with a doctor

And you could be prohibited from checking into a hospital for surgery, or visiting a family member in a nursing home, or blocked from obtaining private health insurance and Medicaid or Medicare.

In other words, if you refuse to get a coronavirus vaccination, you could be subjected to the kinds of punitive social sanctions I have been predicting and publicly warned about since 1997, 143 144 145 146 sanctions that are already being applied to Americans who decline to get or give their children dozens of doses of CDC “recommended” liability free vaccines 147 and already are being denied an education, medical care, and employment. 148 149

Broken Promises Leads to Broken Trust

Doctors and public health officials wondering why people don’t trust what they say about infectious diseases and vaccination, including coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines, only have to look in the mirror to answer the question.

Since 1982, parents of vaccine injured children have been begging doctors to do the kind of science that will explain why so many highly vaccinated children, who don’t get measles or chicken pox anymore, are stuck on sick and suffering with brain and autoimmune disorders that never go away. 150

For four decades we have been asking doctors and government health officials to stop sweeping casualties of inhumane one-size-fits all vaccine policies under the rug. 151

What we get from medical professors in universities receiving lots of money from the government and pharmaceutical companies, and from doctors developing vaccines, and from public health officials pushing “no exceptions” vaccination policies is threats, name-calling, bullying and punishment if we try to exercise informed consent to vaccination. 152 153 154

There is no other word for it but abuse.

They order us to obey them but refuse to take responsibility for what happens when we obey the orders they give. They expect us to trust them and refuse to care about the victims of vaccination when the benefits do not outweigh the risks.

Instead, they act to protect the power and profit-making of their business partners: the pharmaceutical industry, medical trade associations, multi-national media corporations and Silicon Valley billionaires, and leave vaccine victims to take care of themselves.

What’s trust got to do with it?

Broken trust has everything to do with why the majority of people in the U.S. and Europe do not want to roll the dice and find out whether the odds of surviving a COVID-19 vaccination are in their favor.

Vaccination: What’s Trust Got to Do With It?

The PPJ Gazette

Mercola.comAnalysis by Barbara Loe Fisher

Story at-a-glance

  • The orchestrated actions by governments around the world to restrict or eliminate civil liberties in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented, and has had profound effects on the global economy and on the physical, mental and emotional health of billions of people
  • By mid-September 2020, the U.S. had recorded over 7 million cases and 198,000 deaths, with an estimated 598 deaths per million people — a higher death rate per million people than Sweden, where health officials refused to order masking or to lock down the country and allowed the population to acquire natural herd immunity
  • According to the World Health Organization, the overall infection mortality rate for COVID-19 is about 0.6%
  • The CDC recently reported that only 6% of COVID-19-related deaths were solely due to coronavirus infection and 94% of the people who died also had influenza or pneumonia; heart…

View original post 65 more words

“They Rape Our Women, Kill Our People, and Burn Our Properties”: Muslim Persecution of Christians, August, 2020 – Raymond Ibrahim

Gatestone Institute The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of August, 2020: The Slaughter of Christians Philippines: On August 24, 15 people were killed in twin suicide bombings, carried out by the widows of two terrorists, and targeting a cathedral in the Muslim majority city of Jolo; about 80 […]

Source: “They Rape Our Women, Kill Our People, and Burn Our Properties”: Muslim Persecution of Christians, August, 2020 – Raymond Ibrahim

Listen, My Son

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“Listen my son to the Master’s instructions and attend to them with the ear of your heart” (Prologue 1). These are the first words Saint Benedict speaks to his monks through his Rule of life.  The Rule of Benedict (RB) establishes three important spiritual attitudes already in the first verse.  The first instruction is that Saint Benedict requires the monk to listen, which requires the monk to cultivate silence, humility and obedience.  The second is that God, the Master, speaks to us—both directly and through those in whom He has invested authority, and even more broadly through the circumstances of reality itself.  The third is that there is a kind of listening that one can only do and must do with the ears of the heart.  In this post, we will reflect on the first part and take up the next two parts in the following posts.

Listening – “Listen, my son”

Listening is the foundational attitude of the monk and to do it well it requires silence, obedience, and humility.  This explains the three chapters of the Rule on these principal monastic attributes—chapter 5 on obedience, chapter 6 on silence and chapter 7 on humility.  All are necessary for listening: only the humble man listens, while the proud man believes he already knows everything; listening requires exterior silence to hear with the ears in one’s head and interior silence to hear with the ears of the heart, and obedience treats listening as a path of potential action, not merely a matter of taking in idle words.

Humility is a key theme throughout the Rule of Saint Benedict.  The longest chapter in the rule (chapter 7) is devoted to the virtue of humility.  Humility is expressed in the beginning of the rule as the call to listen.  A person only listens when he believes he has something to learn.  Otherwise, he will talk excessively, thinking everyone else has something to learn from him.  That is why Saint Benedict warns the talkative man: “in a flood of words, you will not avoid sinning” (RB 7:57 quoting Proverbs 10:19).  He also notes that when we think we know everything and never cease talking, we end up going in circles, never making progress: “A talkative man goes about aimlessly on the earth” (RB 7:58 quoting psalm 140:12).  Those scriptures are quoted in the ninth step of humility which requires “that a monk controls his tongue and remains silent” (RB 7:56).

The silence of Christian monasticism is not merely an asceticism of self-control or emptying our desires, but rather a posture of listening to a God who speaks.  We do not silence ourselves for the sake of being silent, but rather for the sake of hearing more clearly.  Our silence is not a matter of isolating ourselves, but rather of opening ourselves.  It is relational.  Silence is the necessary pre-condition for hearing God and encountering Him in prayer and in life.  Too often we make the mistake of getting lost in the world and never slowing down enough or silencing ourselves enough to meet God, to hear Him, and simply to be with Him.  God has revealed Himself as the divine Word who has spoken from all eternity and continues to speak to us in a personal relationship.  When we slow down, humble ourselves in prayer and open our hearts, we can hear His voice.  That has a way of humbling us even more, reducing our inflated egos to nothing.  We find ourselves saying like Saint Paul, “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:8).

Furthermore, Saint Benedict understands listening as leading to action.  He is not content with ideas that never turn into action nor with knowledge that never becomes love.  “’Knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up” (1Cor 8:1).  “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14).  It is through obedience that knowledge becomes love and that the Word becomes flesh.  That is why Jesus is the ultimate example of obedience.  In Him, the Father’s will was made tangible and visible at every moment of His life (cf. 1 Jn 1:1-4).  “Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, ’Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me’” (Heb 10:5).  The Word was made flesh so that the Father’s will could be visible in a human body.  Furthermore, the ultimate sacrifice is made through that same human body.  There is no love without sacrifice and Christ revealed the ultimate love by offering the ultimate sacrifice.  He laid down His life for us, allowing His crucified Body to proclaim, through suffering, all of the Father’s love for us.  When Jesus listened to the Father, He opened His life to the greatest potential.  This potential became a reality as His Body participated in and revealed the fullness of divine love.  This is true obedience and Saint Paul glorifies it by singing: “Christ…became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8).

We can now apply to ourselves Saint Benedict’s teaching on listening through silence, obedience, and humility.  We must create places of silence and we must intentionally include in our lives extended periods of silence for prayer.  In the rule, Saint Benedict prescribes 4-6 hours of silence for monks to spend each day in personal prayer.  This sets a high standard that few can follow given the demands of daily life, but at least an hour of daily silent prayer is necessary for real spiritual growth. 

Beyond our dedicated times of silent prayer, it also helps to create spaces of communal silence.  Benedictine monasteries have done this since the 6th century, making a place not only for the personal sanctification of the monks but also for other members of the faithful to enter into.  Saint Benedict had extensive regulations in the Rule to provide for guests, noting that “monasteries are never without them” (RB 53:16).  The service of hospitality is a key feature of Benedictine spirituality.  When Benedictine monasteries consist of monks that are prayerful and cultivate silence, these monasteries can become a spiritual oasis for the faithful.  That depends on the personal decision of the monks, however.  We must all choose how we will respond to the call of the Christian faith.  When we respond with humble silence and holy love, our hearts are set aflame and we can warm the hearts of others.  When we allow the noise of the world to come in and to corrupt our souls and make us busybodies, our hearts grow cold and so do those who would seek the warmth of Christ in us.

On Jesus’ Merciful Call of St. Matthew, a Great Sinner

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September 21, 2020 Msgr. Charles Pope

On this Feast Day of St. Matthew, we must acknowledge a great mercy in Jesus’ call. As a tax collector, Matthew was considered a great sinner. In fact, the term “tax collector” was a biblical euphemism for great sinner. Yet despite this, Jesus called him to be an Apostle.

In our times, many set mercy and the fact that we are sinners in opposition to each other, but the Lord Jesus unites these realities together. For the Lord, mercy is necessary because there is sin, not because sin is “no big deal.” It is because sin is a big deal that mercy is needed and is glorious.

Bishop Robert Barron aptly states, Many receive the message of divine mercy as tantamount to a denial of the reality of sin, as though sin no longer matters. But just the contrary is the case. To speak of mercy is to be intensely aware of sin and its peculiar form of destructiveness (Vibrant Paradoxes: The Both/And of Catholicism, p. 1).

Mercy does not deny sin; it acknowledges it and supplies an often-challenging remedy. Jesus shows mercy by calling us from our sin and healing us from its effects.

This understanding is evident in the Gospel for the Feast of St. Matthew:

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners
” (Matt. 9:9-13).

Notice three things from this Gospel about the relationship between mercy and sin:

I.  In His mercy, Jesus reckons us as sinners and regards us as sick.Jesus states plainly, “I have come to call sinners” (this means us). He also says that those who are well do not need a doctor, but the sick (this means us) do.

Many people today have been deceived. Some even call their sin good and something of which to be proud. They say, “God made me this way,” or “God likes me just the way I am.” No! To those such as these the Lord Jesus says, “You are sick. You are a sinner.” An antiphon in the Breviary says, God sees all men as sinners, that he might show them his mercy.

So in His mercy Jesus does not overlook sin or call it something good; he calls it what it is: sin and sickness.

II.  In His mercy, Jesus summons us to change. In this Gospel, Jesus calls Matthew away from his tax post, saying, “Follow me.” In other words, stop what you are doing; come away from it and follow me out of here. To the woman caught in adultery He says, “Do not sin again.” Jesus began His ministry by saying, “Repent and believe the Gospel.” To repent (metanoiete) means to change, to come to a new and different mind.

The changes Jesus insists upon are too numerous to list in their entirety, but among them are that we become free of lust, vengeful anger, greed, and unforgiveness and that we become more generous, loving, serene, faithful, and trusting.

Thus in His mercy, Jesus does not confirm us in our sin; He summons us away from it. He calls us to change and equips us to do so. His merciful call is this: “Come away from here. Enough of this; follow me.”

III.  In His mercy, Jesus heals sinners of their sin. Jesus uses the image of a doctor and states plainly that sick people (sinners) need a doctor. Jesus is that doctor. A doctor does not look at a sick patient and say, “You’re fine the way you are” or “I affirm you.” That would be malpractice. Jesus sees sin for what it is. He calls it such and prescribes the necessary medicines. He will also likely speak to a person’s lifestyle and recommend needed changes. This is how a doctor heals.

Jesus invokes the image of a doctor with what He does. He diagnoses and says, “This is bad. This is sickness. This is sin.” He then applies healing remedies such as the sacraments, the Holy Liturgy, His Word, the carrying of the cross, active and passive purifications, punishments due to sin, solid moral teaching, and holy fellowship. Like a doctor, Jesus summons us from a bad and unhealthy life to a good and healthy one.

Thus, in His mercy, Jesus heals our sins. He does not ignore them or approve of them—and He certainly does not call them good or something to celebrate. In His mercy, He heals them. He ends them.

So mercy is not a bland kindness. It is not mere flattery that pretends that sin does not exist or that it doesn’t matter. Beware of fake, flattering mercy. True mercy says, “Sin is awful. Let’s get out of here and go to a far better place.”

Matthew got up and followed Jesus. How about us?