“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32).
Francis used this passage from Scripture to rebuke the guardian of one of the houses where the brothers were living. The guardian had driven away a band of thieves from the house and proudly told Francis of his deed.
St. Francis scolded him severely, saying: “You acted in a cruel way, because sinners are led back to God by holy meekness better than by cruel scolding. For our Master Jesus Christ, whose Gospel we have promised to observe, says that the doctor is not needed by those who are well but by the sick, and ‘I have come to call not the just but sinners to penance,’ and therefore He often ate with them. So, since you acted against charity and against the example of Jesus Christ, I order you under holy obedience to take right now this sack of bread and jug of wine which I begged. Go and look carefully for those robbers over the mountains and valleys until you find them. And offer them all this bread and this wine for me. And then kneel down before them and humbly accuse yourself of your sin of cruelty.
We find it difficult to admit when we’re wrong, when we’ve sinned. And it seems the more we try to live good Christian lives, the harder it gets to acknowledge how often we fail. It is that acknowledgment, though, that allows us to find the forgiveness and grace we need to change our lives.
—from the book Lent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections by Diane M. Houdek