7th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C):
“BE MERCIFUL, JUST AS YOUR FATHER IS MERCIFUL
- Summary of ideas of today’s Sunday readings
- Why does God ask us to be merciful towards others?
- “Do to others as you would have them do to you”
“O Lord, I trust in your merciful love. Let my heart rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord who has been bountiful with me”
Today we pray the above Antiphon as the Sunday liturgy reminds us of an indispensable characteristic of Christian life: God wants us to be merciful towards others for He is kind and merciful to us. He wants us to be living instruments of His Mercy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, being the Face of God’s Mercy sums up all what He previously said in one sentence “Be merciful, as your Father is merciful (Lk 6:36).”
- This consists in love towards one’s enemies, as exemplified by King David in the 1st reading (1 Sm 26:2, 7–9, 12–13, 22–23), where he is presented as a model of compassion and mercy: he could have taken revenge on Saul, his enemy, but instead forgave him his life, not wanting to attempt with impunity against the anointed of the Lord.
- It also consists in the following: “do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you […] 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.”
- These are what Jesus wants us to do if we are to imitate His Mercy (Lk 6:27–38).
Why did Jesus insist on the importance of being merciful towards others? One might ask perhaps. To understand this, we must first contemplate the mercy we have received from God. “The Lord is kind and merciful (Ps. 102)”
- God’s mercy is so immense as is His love for us: As Pope Francis put: “God’s love is like the love of a mother, who can never forget. And if a mother were to forget? “I will not forget you”, says the Lord. This is the perfect love of God, in this way we are beloved by Him. If all our earthly loves were to disintegrate and nothing were to remain in our hands but dust, there is always for all of us, ardent, the unique and faithful love of God.”
- He forgives us so much throughout our lives, despite our many sins and infidelities: “Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes.” And as long as we have time in this world, He never gives up on us, unless we freely and advertently deny Him the love he expects from us, for “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him (Psalm 102)”
- Hence, as we have received from God so much love and mercy we do not merit in any way, God also wishes us to do the same to those around us.
We need to think of ourselves as an army of the forgiven. All of us have been looked upon with divine compassion. If we approach the Lord with sincerity and listen carefully, there may well be times when we hear his reproach: “Should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (Mt 18:33). Seeing and acting with mercy: that is holiness.
–Pope Francis, Gaudete et exultate-
Today, as we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we pay special attention to the petition: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Are we consistent with this request and with God’s desire for us to be merciful towards others, in loving our enemies, in treating them not only the way we want to be treated but above all, as God loved us (Gospel Acclamation), in avoiding rash judgments, wickedness and revenge?
Let us not repay evil with evil, but rather as Our Lord taught us, drown evil with an abundance of good. Only then, by being merciful towards others shall we be truly identified with Our Lord Jesus Christ, the face of the Father’s Mercy, for as Christians, and in spite of our weakness and failures, we are called to be living instruments of God’s Mercy. “Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one (Cf. 2nd reading, 1 Cor 15:45–49).”
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, always pondering spiritual things, we may carry out in both word and deed that which is pleasing to you. (Collect prayer)
“Mother of Mercy, help us rediscover the joy of God’s tenderness. You who entered the sanctuary of divine mercy, that you may never tire of turning your merciful eyes towards us, and make us worthy to contemplate the face of mercy, your Son Jesus (Pope Francis, The Face of Mercy).”
A Blessed Sunday and week ahead! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.
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