Monday, March 23, 2015

No One, Sir

The Lord heard her prayer…Thus was innocent blood spared that day. Daniel 13:44, 62

Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”  John 8:10-11

The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. 
In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me;
He restores my soul.  He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.
You set a table before me in front of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days. (Psalm 23)

Just a little over a week ago, Pope Francis declared the Year of Mercy which will be marked starting in October.  Today’s readings give us two views on mercy:  the lack of mercy shown by humans against each other when some are not even sinners and the abundance of mercy shown by God toward sinners.
That God is merciful is not in doubt or question.  However, we have an interesting contrast in the accusers today.  In one case, the accusers do not back down and they end up paying the steepest price for their transgression. In the other case, the accusers disappear into the crowd – leaving the sinner standing alone with Christ.
In both cases, though, the Lord heard her prayer and demonstrated the love and mercy of God for her. 

Is it any wonder why Francis announced a new global jubilee, the Holy Year of Mercy?  According to a recent news story
Symbolically calling on the entire global Roman Catholic Church to take up his papacy's central message of compassion and pardon, Pope Francis on Friday announced that he is convoking a jubilee year to be called the Holy Year of Mercy.
Saying he has "thought often about how the church can make more evident its mission of being a witness of mercy," the pope announced the new jubilee year during a Lenten penitential service in St. Peter's Basilica.
"I am convinced that the whole church -- that has much need to receive mercy because we are sinners — will find in this jubilee the joy to rediscover and render fruitful the mercy of God, with which we are all called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time," Francis said in announcing the year.
"Let us not forget that God pardons and God pardons always," the pope continued. "Let us never tire of asking for forgiveness."

Francis has made mercy a central theme of his papacy, speaking of it often in homilies and in his texts. His apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel"), uses the word 32 times.  How can you make it a central part of your life?  Who are you called to shower mercy upon?

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