Second Week of Lent – Monday Reading: Luke 6: 36-38 Be merciful just as your Father is merciful. ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.
Reflection The scriptures abound with references to the mercy of God, the Father so that we may learn of him and offer the same compassion and mercy to the people we encounter in our daily lives. ‘The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all he has made.’ (Psalm 145:8)
During this Lenten season, we are invited to deepen our relationship with Jesus through lives of merciful generosity. Jesus embraces each person in a merciful, compassionate embrace and asks us to do the same. This is clearly demonstrated in the parable of the prodigal and his brother, ‘But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.’ (Luke 15: 20) We are asked to live counter-cultural lives to the lives of much of our society today; a society that judges condemns and alienates the person who does not share our views, lifestyle or political opinions. No one is a stranger to the compassionate embrace or mercy of God; as followers of Jesus, neither should anyone be excluded from our compassion or mercy.
We are asked to offer total, unconditional forgiveness to all people; if we withhold our forgiveness we cannot expect God to forgive us;
‘And forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors’ (Matthew 6:12) We acknowledge that this is not always easy but are reminded of the hope that St. Paul offers us, ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13) We are asked to imitate our creator in the mercy that we show to all of creation; it is God’s handiwork and gift to us. ‘His compassion is over all he has made.’ (Psalm 145:8) As followers of Jesus, we wish to be merciful to the earth and all of God’s creation.
God asks us to be generous of spirit and to care for each other. ‘I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.’ (John 13:34) We are to be generous in our love and in our daily care of each other. If we are selfish, stingy or neglectful, we will not care well for the person in need. Our lives are to overflow with good deeds and we are asked to be cheerful givers. Our generosity of spirit will not go unnoticed by our gracious God and both giver and receiver will be blessed;
‘The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, ‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ (2 Corinthians 9:6-10)
Prayer Lord, I thank you that you extend your hand of forgiveness to me;
May I share this forgiveness with those who cross my path each day.
May compassion and mercy be my breast-plate.
May I be gracious and generous of spirit with all your people, O Lord,
I make this prayer in your name, o merciful God, Amen