Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Mercy, Remember My Sin No More

Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest

By Beth DeCristofaro

The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. … for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31, 34)

 “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, … Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”  (Matthew 16:15-17, 22-23)

Merciful Jesus, I consecrate myself today and always to
Your Most Sacred Heart.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus I implore, that I may ever
love You more and more.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in You!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in Your love for me.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like
Your heart.  (

We humans are such studies in contrast.  Frustrated and overly busy Martha asked Jesus to chastise her sister for not helping with dinner.  Martha, however, also voiced profound heavenly insight to Him: “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” (Luke 11:27) St John Vianney was a deeply holy man who converted a hedonistic and faithless village into a community that was known throughout France as a place of piety and honesty.  He spent incredibly long hours hearing confessions yet was so strict that he refused to give absolution to parishioners who danced!  Peter, in today’s Gospel, declared aloud Jesus’ divine identity and mission but then was unable to accept the Word which animates and guides Jesus’ mission. 

God constantly rebuilds His covenant with us, his utterly human friends, saying, again and again, I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.

In Jesus A Pilgrimage, Fr. James Martin says of Peter and Jesus’ mercy: “Notice that Jesus knows exactly who he is asking to lead his community:  a sinner.  As all Christian leaders have been, are, and will be, Peter is imperfect. … Jesus forgives Peter because he loves him because he knows that his friend needs forgiveness to be free and because he knows that leader of his church will need to forgive others many times.  And Jesus forgives totally going beyond what would be expected, going so far as to establish Peter as the head of His church.[i]” Look for an opportunity to offer humble, human mercy to someone today?

[i] Harper One, 2014, p. 449-450

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