As Jesus heals the leper in the Gospel of Luke, we witness the profound compassion of the Lord, who longs for our TOTAL healing – body, mind, heart and soul. May we draw near to Christ for this healing and in turn seek to be agents of healing whenever possible.
The Psalm response reminds us that our hope is not founded in our strength, our wealth or our abilities…it is founded upon the mercy of God. May this mercy give us the wisdom to turn to the Lord for our needs this day!
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.
The Letter to the Romans is a powerful expression of St. Paul’s thought. In this passage we discover the danger of judging others and glossing over our own sins. Rather, we acknowledge our need for the Savior and embrace the grace of the Cross.
We hear in the Gospel of Luke the familiar parable of the The Prodigal Son. It’s worth a moment to touch on a few key points from this passage:
The younger son asks for his inheritance before his time (what kind of person does this?)
The younger son completely wastes the entire inheritance; he has no excuse
The younger son hits “rock bottom” and figures it’s better to be a servant with his dad than starving with the pigs
The Father’s mercy is overwhelming: ring, robe, sandals, fatted calf, and a party
The older son is furious – this is not justice!
The Father is also merciful to his older son as he teaches him about mercy
What a powerful parable! In our daily lives the need for forgiveness is so compelling that it is vital to dwell on the divine mercy of God and recall our need to return to the Lord in our moments of weakness and sin.
Like both brothers in the parable, we all sin and fall short of God’s grace; yet like the brothers, we also have a Father who loves and welcomes us whenever we seek to turn back. Both brothers could speak to their Father – in either humility or anger – and the Father responds to both with tenderness.
Today I would like to suggest two key points for our reflection in the light of this passage:
How are my sins keeping me from God and others in my life?
What steps do I need to take to return to the Lord and receive his grace?
God longs to welcome us back, and when we can humbly embrace our mistakes and sins we discover a grace beyond anything imaginable. May we have the courage to examine our hearts and return to the Lord – the source of all mercy.