The Book of Daniel and the Gospel of John offer us examples of Justice and Mercy, crucial concepts that require our careful thought and attention as disciples of the Lord. May we strive for Justice in all our actions as we we recognize our ongoing need for God’s Mercy when we sin.
Here’s a quick overview of the readings this week:
1st Reading – Abraham recognizes the Lord in the three visitors
Psalm – “who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord”
2nd Reading – Through suffering we participate in the life of Christ
Gospel – Martha & Mary
One way to reflect on these verses is to see how the Lord meets us in the pattern of daily life. Consider:
Hospitality – serving others
Justice – standing up for what is right, true, and good
Suffering – caring for those in need, and bearing our own pain as well
Listening – pausing from our labors to hear the Lord in our lives
We understand that our relationship with God touches multiple aspects of our lives, such as prayer, sacraments, relationships, work, and recreation. The invitation today encourages us to see with our hearts how the Lord is present to us in the current moment.
Does it mean that we serve with a joyful heart? That we swiftly respond to injustice? That we compassionately care for others? That we stop and “smell the roses” in moments of rest & renewal, beauty & blessing? In all these ways we are led back to the Lord, recognizing the gifts God gives us with a grateful heart.
How is God present in your life right now? May our response bring us closer to Christ and one another.
Psalm 15 offers some beautiful advice for living a just life for the Lord. Holiness is not just found in the extraordinary; often, our most powerful Christian witness occurs in the normal, everyday interactions that we have with one another.
Jesus offers a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven where merciful generosity embraces and transcends justice…reminding us that one day we will call upon the Lord for mercy when we stand before him at the end of time.
Several powerful themes surface in the readings this week.
1st Reading – The Lord is the source of justice
Psalm – “Lord, you are good and forgiving.”
2nd Reading – The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness
Gospel – Jesus offers several parables; two of them are about weeds and seeds
A common pattern emerges from these themes as we discover that in the midst of injustice, sin, weakness and evil the Lord comes with justice, forgiveness, strength and power. Simply put, God gives us grace to confront the weeds in our lives.
So that begs the question: Where are the weeds in our hearts today? What struggle are we facing that requires the Lord’s mercy and love? Perhaps we might step back and pause this week to reflect on the state of our soul, so that we can honestly assess what is growing and what needs to go.
Jesus Christ knows our hearts and loves us unconditionally. As we look at the garden of our hearts may we trust that the one who knows us completely will help us root out what does not belong and help us grow as Sons and Daughters of God.
When we do these things we discover that God provides the strength, wisdom, direction and guidance to carry them out. The Lord takes our effort, reinforces it with grace, and blesses our work in ways we never imagined. Like a brilliant light shining in the darkness, the glory of Jesus Christ pierces the pain and struggles of this life and offers us hope to continue on our way.
And when we let the Lord work through us we become Salt & Light. Our lives, invigorated by God’s love, become conduits for Divine Charity to touch hearts and lives in our world today. It is the Lord’s power at work in our lives, and we are blessed every time we say “Yes!” to the call of Christ to serve those in our midst.
The readings this Sunday could have been chosen for the Year of Mercy. Take a look:
1st Reading – “The Lord is a God of justice, who knows no favorites…”
Psalm – “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.”
2nd Reading – “The Lord stood by me and gave me strength.”
Gospel – Two men went to the Temple to pray…and the one who said, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner” was heard!
As Pope Francis constantly reminds us, the name of God is Mercy. Jesus shows us repeated examples of the mercy and love of the Father, inviting us to both receive God’s grace and then live with mercy toward one another.
It’s a simple message, direct and to the point. Yet we know from our own experience how hard it can be to practice mercy in our world today! We suffer injury, offense, misunderstanding and hassle in our daily interactions with one another. People get under our skin. We get angry. We lose our focus.
And thus this simple message continues to speak to our hearts, heal our souls, and guide us into the grace that comes when we foster forgiveness and pursue peace. Mercy is a practical application of the Great Commandment to love one another; mercy becomes our homework for holiness by which we put the example of Jesus into our own daily practice.
God’s mercy washes us clean and heals the wounds caused by sin. As we seek the Lord’s mercy in our lives, may we allow this gift of mercy to move through us and touch the lives of those we meet.