2nd Week of Lent
1st Reading: Dan 9:4b-10
“Lord, great and awesome God, you who keep your merciful covenant toward those who love you and observe your commandments! We have sinned, been wicked and done evil; we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws. We have not obeyed your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers, and all the people of the land. Justice, O Lord, is on your side; we are shamefaced even to this day: we, the men of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem, and all Israel, near and far, in all the countries to which you have scattered them because of their treachery toward you. O Lord, we are shamefaced, like our kings, our princes, and our fathers, for having sinned against you. But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness! Yet we rebelled against you and paid no heed to your command, O Lord, our God, to live by the law you gave us through your servants the prophets.”
Gospel: Lk 6:36-38
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
We NEED another world: The Israelites are repenting and asking for forgiveness. Their interaction with God informs our relationship with Our Merciful Father. On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp, Pope Francis said that tragedies of torture germinate as judgments and culminate as condemnations. When such negative judgments are repeated, the world rots. Our lives have witnessed tragedy, bloodshed, hunger, and starvation, based on wrongful judgements. Once we conclude condemn the other as wrong, we fail to practice forgiveness. We fail to forgive and give ourselves for the sake of peace in the world. Remember that “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over” is the visible yard stick of your giving. St. Mother Theresa tells us, ‘Give until it hurts you’. Because this is the way you attempt the building of a new culture and you will start getting the same measure in return.
Prayer: God help us to understanding and be generous with the frailties of our neighbours.
THE PERFECTION OF GOD IS COMPASSION: There is an interesting expression in English; not to be caught on the wrong foot! It comes from the context of the game of tennis, it is applicable to most games. When a player moves towards the left they should not move their right foot over the left foot. If they did this and if the next ball again comes to the far left their left foot will be locked by the right foot. In normal life, not being caught on the wrong foot means being flawless. Last Saturday we had the parallel of today’s gospel from Matthew (5:48), “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” One easy way of being perfect is not to be caught on the wrong foot. As if to correct this attitude, Luke puts it explicitly: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Being not caught on the wrong foot for a Christian, consists in being merciful.
LOVED IN SIN: A favorite expression among followers of St. Ignatius is that we are “sinners yet loved.” Perhaps this brings us hope to continue to live in a world where war and poverty, violence to persons as well as to environment have become daily occurrences. We continue to do the things we want. How many abortions happen each day? How many lives are lost due to some environmental destructions? How many children die of malnutrition and starvation? Have we ever looked at ourselves to see how we have been part of these structural sins? Today, let us ask for the Father’s forgiveness. Let us ask for His mercy. Let us pray that we be given the grace to open our hearts and accept God’s forgiving love — He who sent His only Beloved Son to be with us and restore all things in Him. Every day we must express our faith in our God of compassion and forgiveness. The other name for God is mercy. We begin to know God when we immerse ourselves in profundity of His mercy.