Articles from Third Ministries!
The other day I met a man who claimed to be Jesus. Every time I walked by this homeless man, I felt a tug at my heart. Christ promised us that when we love those least brothers of ours, we were in his presence, loving him. When he finally called me over to talk, he eventually admitted that he was the Second Coming of Christ, and that we needed to prepare for the End Times, which were now. We could be saved, because we were the children of God. But those who were the children of Satan, there was no saving them. He named off quite a few types of people that we welcome into our community at St. Monica, and he left them little room for repentance.
He didn't seem to desire to spend time with us sinners, let alone to save us. He seemed quite content with letting those he deemed to be damned stay damned. So I'm not too sure he was actually Jesus. In the end, I suppose I could only chuckle at that tug in my heart to meet Jesus in this "least brother of mine."
What I found was that he was not able to see beyond the sin and into the weakness that let the sin happen. He was fine letting others be defined by their sins. St. John Paul II once so powerfully told the young people of the world that we are not the sum of our failures and weaknesses and sins; but we are the sum of the Father's love for us.
I saw the walls begin to crumble from the hearts of some of our young people just the other night while on our retreat. It was the most profound moment of the three days for me: to stop talking so much and let these longing hearts and young souls share their stories and weaknesses. It was not so that they could earn pity from one another, but so that they might show their wounds and hurts and witness to how God has already gone there before us. Staring at their scars, like "Doubting" Thomas, would let them see God in those wounds, maybe for the first time. And so powerfully, having let their stories be heard, in some cases for the first time, we prayed over and laid hands on each and every person. Perhaps we found healing in the very things that wound us. Like the Cross.
What always strikes me most when a wounded heart let's itself be opened up and a soul admits their need for prayer and they risk letting themselves be loved, it is that we have two options. We can condemn that soul, or we can love them more profoundly. I met a community of young people who refused to condemn one another. And I witnessed young men and women who did not ignore their faults and failures, but found themselves even more capable of love in the midst of sin and weakness and lack. Hearts were unveiled, and they did not reveal people defined by their sin. They made known in places where sin seems to abound, not the desire for condemnation, but the need for even greater love.
Dcn. Tim Grumbach is in his final year of Seminary studies at St. John Seminary in Camarillo, CA. He has a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from CSU Dominguez Hills. He was ordained as a transitional Deacon in August of 2016, preparing to be ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 2017. Growing up in Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica, he has a real connection to the surf, the mountains, and the people of Southern California. Spending a fair amount of time on surf boards and mountain bikes, his current priorities include finishing an MA in Theology at the Seminary, with a concentration on New Testament Scriptural studies. Dcn. Tim is greatly anticipating his first assignment as an associate pastor after ordination somewhere in Los Angeles, beginning July 2017.