Yesterday, I read this article about John Paul II being beatified at a Vatican Mass. The original title was “John Paul II takes a step closer to sainthood.” In response, I made the tongue-in-cheek tweet of: “Man… it’s hard to be sainted in the Roman Catholic Church. I was just dragged kicking and screaming to the baptismal font.”
Today the Higher Things Reflection observed the Feast of St. Philip and St. James:
People have all kinds of questions about God and what He is like, but they need only look to Jesus to find out. And they need only hear the preaching of the apostles proclaimed from the Scriptures in the church to see Him.
That preaching proclaims that God is all about saving sinners. There’s no “keeping score” with God. He sends His Son in the flesh to be pierced for sinners. To bleed for sinners. To die for sinners. To rise for sinners. Everything Jesus does is for our salvation. And everything in the church, from the washing of Baptism, to the Supper of Christ’s Body and Blood is Jesus showing us the Father and being God for us.
So, what’s the difference? John Paul II being sainted by the RCC is all about him – what he did. Philip and James were sinners confessing Christ (sometimes they weren’t very good at that either). Cries of “santo subito!” (sainthood now) have been heard since John Paul II’s funeral. In the end you and I DO have sainthood now! We’re baptized! Saint and sinner at the same time. The sinner part is pretty apparent to us and those around us the majority of the time. But we are also saint – not because of our bold confession or because we’ve done anything miraculous at all. Because we are baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. We have been clothed with Christ! Nothing to do with us. But everything to do with Jesus for us!
We give thanks for the example of St. Philip and St. James and their preaching that God is all about saving sinners.