Catholic Q&A

When I hear the word ‘Church’ I get the idea that it is a place to which serious and fervent people go, and that makes me feel nervous. Is a weak-willed and lethargic person ineligible to become a believer?

No. Here again I think the same mix-up has arisen. There are indeed many Christians in Japan who are serious and fervent, and that is the reason why they have been rated highly. Yet there may be reasons as to why the Christian religion remains sluggish and is not getting indigenized. First of all, Jesus himself readily went out and befriended the weak, poor, sick, those with none to call their own, those enduring depression due to feelings of guilt, those looked down upon by others, and the marginalized of society. The Bible says that Jesus often mixed with those who were despised as sinners. At that time the elite of Jewish society criticized him saying, “this man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:2). For the Jewish people, eating together was not just an issue of consuming bodily refreshment. It signified an intimate fellowship, and meant so to speak a mutual sharing of destinies as well.

By befriending the weak in this manner, Jesus became a spokesperson for the heart of God the Father. God eagerly awaits the return not just of the favored or exclusive, but of the weak and discarded.

Those who encountered Jesus were transformed by him. They gained courage and power to start life anew, and they came to lead an entirely different way of life. It is true of course that Jesus insisted that those wishing to follow him should lead lives where they rejected evil and looked up to God, and the Church also requires that we lead the life of believers. However, this is not something that can be done by the power of our own will. Rather, we are called upon by the grace of God to pursue a way of life, which any weak-willed person will be able to follow.

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