Intention: That God may bless and protect all those who carry healing and peace to the poor, the abused, and the forgotten people of our world.
Today’s Gospel | Matthew 16:13-19
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
A Lenten Reflection
Some time ago, 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 kind forbearance and into the realm of unconditional love. To be merciful is to cooperate with the heart of God in affirming the inherent lovableness of his creation. It is an act of acceptance that says 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. In his wisdom, God sees that all of us deserve patience and are worth the wait.
And so, this Lent, as we reflect on the world’s 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 okay in spite of them. It is by God’s grace in the form of people’s mercy that our eyes are opened to our oneness as a loved and redeemed people.
Eternal Father, you have blessed each of us with gifts that are uniquely ours. However, there are times that, whether out of inattentiveness, jealousy, or confusion, we fail to recognize the giftedness of others. In this time of Lent, may we remember how to embrace each other in trust and appreciation. Help us to remember that all of us are important parts of your plan for compassion and peace in our world, worthy of respecting and celebrating. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.