Scripture Reading: Matthew 18:21-35
A non-Catholic preacher once observed that Catholics through familiarization and repeating certain acts of worship fail to appreciate the value of what they have and celebrate as Catholics. He went further to say that we might likely take most of our celebrations as Catholics less serious and as a result not derive the power inherent in our faith and worship; because daily we celebrate most of the acts of worship and prayer. It appears that some of us are already victims of these observations. We are fortunate to have Pope Francis declare this year 2016, as Jubilee Year of Mercy. It is an opportunity for all to re-evaluate where we stand in appreciation of the value of God’s mercy towards us. Our God is indeed a merciful God, and as His children He wants us to be merciful children having also access to His mercy daily. The Archbishop of Lagos, His Grace Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins, reflecting on the Jubilee year of Mercy says, “Mercy is an amazing attribute of God that makes His love visible and His compassion tangible. It is the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sins.” So this is a period of sober reflection, of spiritual recollection with focus on the mercy of God to us and the mercy we show to our neighbour. The outcome of this celebration, therefore, is to make us access the full mercy of God and also to become the messengers of mercy. The door of mercy has been opened for us to pass through, in order words, an opportunity to come back to God and forsake our evil ways, and reach out to the God of love who has extended His mercies towards. Dear child of God, the journey of the prodigal son back to the father is exactly similar with the walk through the door of mercy; and we are all invited to walk. The Archbishop captures the essence of this celebration thus, “…the mercy of the heart calls us to repentance and forgiveness. Mercy of the hand calls us to compassion.
Beloved in Christ, we are in a world where evil keeps multiplying; evil things like: killings, war, immoral activities, abominable activities even within the household of God, etc. We need to come back to God and beg for pardon and mercy. We have been invited by Pope Francis to seek the forgiveness of God in our wrong-doings. To stop those things that offends God and cause pain to our neigbours. The other aspect of our commitment to mercy is to forgive all persons who have offended us or hurt us. As God forgives us we must also forgive others. This is the secret of being at peace with man and God. Great people take secrets revealed seriously.
Dear child of God, by the time we will be ending the activities of the Year of Mercy and have fully reconciled with God by forsaking our sinful ways and granted forgiveness to all who have offended or caused us pain, then we would ended this all-important occasion ceremoniously. That is we would have passed through the physical door and not through the spiritual one; because we refused to pass through the spiritual door which is the door of God’s heart, opened for mercy. At that time we would not have encountered the God of mercy and compassion and would have also failed in our commitment to mercy. By tomorrow, we shall look into the other aspect which the mercy of God is beckoning on us to embrace. God be with you.
- Thank the good Lord because He is a merciful God.
- Ask for mercy and pardon for all you have done against God.
- Forgive in your heart now anyone who has hurt you or caused you pain. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to forgive them.
- Pray meditatively with Psalm 51.
Exercise: Make a commitment to God to always live a devoted life free from sin and to always be at peace with all men.
Memory Verse: James 2:13.