Sunday, February 28, 2016

Allowing Mercy to Blossom

By Lisa Helene Bacalski

Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. Exodus 3:5b

Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. Psalm 103:8

Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12

“‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:8-9

Choose a line of Psalm 103 to repeat in your heart throughout the week.

In our first reading, we hear God tell Moses that he is standing on holy ground, not by any work or merit of his own, but simply because God wills it. God then sends him on his great task of rescuing his people. It is an act of mercy and intimacy that God allows Moses, a known murderer, to come close to him, to know him by name, and to undertake a journey for him.

We are called by our baptism to do the same, to undertake a pilgrimage to the Lord through our witness and to invite all his people to join us. Yet we often let ourselves become distracted by our fears, by worldly things, by our desires, by our need to control everything or have all the answers. As Paul warns in the letter to Corinthians, we must not let ourselves feel so secure that we forget all goodness comes from God. Our repentance and humility are required.

Often, we stand alone in a crowd, like the barren fig tree in today’s Gospel. The orchard owner wants to cut it down - it may look beautiful but it is useless without fruit. A merciful gardener intervenes and secures another chance. Does the tree submit to the gardener’s ministrations?

What about me and you? Are we aware of how many chances we’ve been given? Do we soak up all the resources of our lives and hold these riches inside, or do we submit to the covenant of loving attention from our merciful, heavenly Father and bloom with a fruitful faith?

Allow someone to do something for you that you normally would refuse or insist on doing yourself. Imagine that it is God taking care of you. 

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