Intention: For a spirit of compassion and generosity among all who are able to share what they have with others, especially with those who are most in need.
Today’s Gospel | Luke 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.”
A Lenten Reflection
Once, during the Sunday Angelus in Saint Peter’s square, Pope Francis mused, “Have you thought about God’s patience, the patience He has with each one of us? That is His mercy. He always has patience, patience with us, He understands us, He waits for us…”
Mercy is often viewed as compassion that is expressed as clemency. What Pope Francis’ nuanced perspective suggests is that mercy goes beyond mere clemency and into the realm of unconditional love. To be merciful is to cooperate with the heart of God as it seeks to affirm and bless his creation. It is a state of acceptance in which we can see that people are more than their disappointments and their mistakes, and that it is the light of God’s goodness within them that truly defines them.
And so, this Lent, as we reflect on our own imperfections and foibles, we might also reflect how many times others have chosen to be patient and to wait for us, to live with our flaws, not because they are okay with them, but because we are lovable in spite of them. It is by Gods’ grace in the form of others’ mercy that we find acceptance and so have a place to be in this world. In his wisdom, God sees that all of us deserve patience and that all of us are worth the wait.
Eternal Father, you have given each of us gifts that are uniquely ours, but so often we fail to value the gifts in others. We judge other’s gifts as threatening or as less important than our own. In this time of Lent, fill us with the compassion that we need to embrace each other with understanding and welcoming arms. Help us to remember that you are using all of us to bring your peace and mercy to the world. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.