2nd Week of Lent, Monday, Mar 1
Daniel 9:4-10 / Luke 6:36-38
Jesus teaches his disciples; ' 'Stop judging and you will not be judged. "
A young businessman began dating a charming young actress. The relationship developed to the point that the businessman was pondering marriage.So he hired a detective agency to investigate the actress. He wanted to make absolutely sure that there was nothing in her past that would embarrass him. The agency assigned to the case an agent who was told nothing of the client's identity. When the agent filed his report, it read: "The lady is a tremendous young woman, except for one blemish. Recently she has been keeping company with a businessman of questionable reputation."
Do we tend to consider ourselves to be better than most other people, when, in fact, the opposite may be true? "Remove the wooden beam from your eye first." Matthew 7:5
Acknowledging sin, being sorry for it and seeking forgiveness is a reality that can only exist where there is genuine friendship and the awareness that this friendship has been hurt or even destroyed. Without friendship with God and with people, sin remains only a thing to be wiped off, sorrow is little more than a superficial regretting of something that should not have happened, and forgiveness is erasing the past. Sin, sorrow, pardon are to be seen in the light of the covenant relationship with a merciful God, who loved us first, and with our neighbor, with whom we are taken up in this union of life and love with God.
During this season of Lent, the importance of the spiritual discipline of prayer is emphasized over and over again. It may mean that we make more time for prayer so that prayer becomes our priority not just during the season of Lent but also thereafter. But it also means that as we pray and enter deeper into a communion with God in prayer, we also want to understand more about God and what He has done for us.
1. The Father’s Mercy: The Father is infinitely merciful. He is ready to forgive anyone who asks for pardon, no matter how big the sin is. He forgave the disobedience of Adam and Eve—the greatest sin in history. He would have forgiven Judas if he had asked for forgiveness. Even if our desire for forgiveness is not perfect–even if our motivation is only to avoid going to hell rather than sorrow for having hurt others or offended God–the Father is willing to forgive. The Father’s mercy is to be the measure of his disciples’ mercy.
2. What Is Mercy?: Jesus explained in this Gospel what he expects when he asks for mercy: Stop judging. Stop condemning. Forgive. Too often we compare ourselves to others because we want to justify ourselves. That leads to judging and condemning others. Instead, we should strive to be merciful because everyone is living a difficult life! Mercy requires that we assume everyone is doing their best and, like ourselves, often falling short of their own ideals. By looking at others this way, forgiveness becomes much easier.
3. Generosity Is Essential: Jesus didn’t merely ask us to forgive—he asks for our generosity. We are not in this world merely to seek our own salvation. Jesus asks us to reach out and share our God-given gifts with others. An old saying warns, “No one gets into heaven by themselves—everyone must bring a friend.” Every day, we have opportunities to help others get one small step closer to heaven. And we grow closer to Jesus when we help others to grow closer to him.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, you have asked me to be merciful and have taught me what mercy means. If I want to be merciful as the Father is merciful, I need to love others and help to draw them closer to you. You have given me many gifts and talents which I sometimes use to serve myself—for my own comfort, entertainment, and pleasure. Help me to learn what mercy really is and to use my gifts to help others, as you intended.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will look for opportunities to use my gifts for others– especially my spiritual gifts–so that I will be a sign of your mercy in the world around me.
Just and holy God, our loving Father, you offered us your hand in friendship and you sent us your Son Jesus to go with us the road of obedience and loyalty. God, we often hurt this friendship, we act as if we were not your sons and daughters. See the look of shame on our faces. Forgive us, for we count on you. Accept our thanks for continuing to take us as we are and loving us notwithstanding our sins. We ask you this through Christ our Lord. Amen