Monday, March 2, 2015

Today's Lent reflection: Being merciful like God

FIRST READING  (Daniel 9:4b - 10)
"O Lord, the great and awesome God, keeping covenant and steadfast love with those who love you and keep your commandments, we have sinned and done wrong, acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and ordinances. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

"To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those that are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery which they have committed against you.

"To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you.

"To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness; because we have rebelled against you, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by following his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets."

GOSPEL READING  (Luke 6:36-38)
At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back."

With God all things are possible 
(Word of Life Community)

Forgive to give
(Presentation Ministries)

The late Fr Michael Harper wrote, "Jesus did not come to present a new set of ideas to us. He came to show us the meaning of love. He revealed what love is. He manifested love. The secret of Jesus' revolution was not the love of power but the power of love," (Michael Harper's book, "The Love Affair" can be downloaded for free in its entirety HERE. If you haven't read it yet, it would make a great Lent book!)

Notice that in today's gospel reading, Jesus asks us to not judge or condemn. He also tells us to give and forgive. We are reminded that we cannot receive without first giving of ourselves. St Ignatius of Loyola reminds us this in his prayer for generosity:

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.

Let us be challenged this Lenten season to truly try giving without counting the cost or expecting something in return. To be the first to forgive. Jesus tells us that only the measure we give will be what we receive.

Give your people, Lord,
pardon and peace,
that we may be cleansed from all our sins,
serve you with a quiet mind,
and gladly forgive one another.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Who lives and reigneth with you,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


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