Tag Archives: mercy

The Leper teaches righteousness

Jesus and Leper

Today is the final Sunday before the Great and Holy Season of Lent begins for the Latins on February 18 – Ash Wednesday. The gospel for today’s Mass is the Leper’s healing (Mark 1:40-45). The monks of St Mary’s Monastery (Petersham, MA) posted this quote which immediately struck my heart. I think I have my Lenten reflection …

This leper is an excellent teacher of the right way to make petitions. He did not doubt the Lord’s willingness through disbelief in his compassion, but neither did he take it for granted, for he knew the depths of his own sinfulness. Yet because he acknowledged that the Lord was able to cleanse him if he wished, we praise this declaration of firm faith just as we praise the Lord’s mighty power. For obtaining a favor from God rightly depends as much on having a real living faith as on the exercise of the Creator’s power and mercy.

St. Paschasius Radbertus
6th Sunday through the Year

Here’s what I need to remember today: Christ came on behalf of sinners

Do not fall into despair because of your stumblings. I do not mean that you should not feel pain because of them, but that you should not consider them incurable. For it is better to be wounded than to be dead. There is indeed a healer: he who on the cross asked for mercy on those who were crucifying him, who pardoned murderers as he hung on the cross. Christ came on behalf of sinners, to heal the broken-hearted and to bind up their wounds.

Saint Isaac of Syria
daily readings

Lazarus Sunday: no limit to divine mercy

Raising of Lazarus RubevelJesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (Jn 11:25)

For the Fifth Sunday of Lent praying the Missal of Paul VI, we are told once again the source of our total fulfillment in this, and in the next life: Jesus’ promise to us of life eternal. (In the Missal of John XXIII it is Passion Sunday.) When all seemed lost after four  days of grave, the Lord gives his dead friend a supreme gift! This grace is not the permanent gift of life as Lazarus was destined to die again but this moment is a clear indication of who Jesus is when He uses the “I am” statement. The great question of all time is “who is Jesus?” Hence, this is the beginning of something that would change everything in the cosmos: resurrection of the body. In Angelus address today Pope Francis said, “As Jesus rose with His own body, but did not return to an earthly life, so we will rise with our bodies that will be transfigured into glorious bodies. He waits for us next to the Father, and the strength of the Holy Spirit, that resuscitated Him, will all raise those who are united to Him.”

The Lazarus event begs us to ask, what does this mean? What is my place in this event of resurrection?

Pope Francis concludes his Angelus remarks, and this is crucial:

The act of Jesus by which He raised Lazarus demonstrates the end to which the power of the Grace of God can arrive, and the end, therefore to which our conversion, our change can arrive. But listen well: there is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all! There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all! Remember this phrase. And we can all say it together: “There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all!” Let us say it together: “There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all!” The Lord is always ready to take away the tombstone of our sins, which separate us from Him, the light of the living.

Saint Augustine tells us “Among all the miracles done by our Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrection of Lazarus holds a prime place in preaching. But if we consider attentively who did it, our duty is to rejoice rather than to wonder. A man was raised up by him who made humankind. He is the only one of the Father by whom, as you know, all things were made. And if all things were made by him, why is anyone amazed that one was raised by him when so many are daily brought into the world by his power? It is a greater deed to create men and women than to raise them again from the dead. Yet he decided both to create and to raise again; to create all, to resuscitate some.”

The friendship of Lord and the intimacy that this fact manifests for us is itself an indication of the love God has for each of us while showing us that outside forces are not exhausted.

Growing in Freedom through forgiveness beginning in Lent

forgivenessThe Christian approach is to “give something up” for Lent as a way change one’s sinfulness to a life of holiness. At least that’s the hope. Typically we fail pretty early in our lenten practices because the sting of the sacrifice is not really present in the way we live and we don’t see the point. Our walk with Jesus Christ has to be more than a Cadbury Easter Egg. What are you are you giving up for Lent? And, why? What is driving you to give up thus-and-such for Lent? Can mercy be a real way of living for you?

In what ways would your life be different if you made an offering to God that included giving up several unseemly attitudes that if you were serious your life would be fundamentally happier?

Forgiveness is God’s gift to us. Will we receive this gift and share it with others? Forgiveness means everything…it is the method of living the proclamation of the Gospel. Forgiveness always a new day to us to live in freedom and it takes us out of the ghetto called religion.

Here’s a proposal of letting go:

Arrogance, intellectual and affective
Blame, bitterness and resentment
Doubt in faith, hope and love
Envy and excuses
Fear of failure, lack of courage
Feelings of unworthiness and guilt
Gossip and negativity
Impatience with self and others
Lack of counsel
Preferring other things to Christ
Presumption, pride and worry: thinking that God is on my side at all times for all reasons
Refusing the hand offered in friendship
Refusing to honor the other person
Refusing to have mercy on others
Sense of entitlement and a spirit of consumerism.

Zacchaeus found mercy

We are fast approaching the end of the secular year, and certainly the liturgical year. The Church ends her journey on the calendar year on the Solemnity of Christ the King, in 2103 this feast falls on 24 November. Slowly, the Church helps us to encounter and dialogue with conversion in a very serious way: times are changing… New England experiences a change in temperature, other parts of the world are getting rains, other parts are in their summer –we can experience something different to the environment and so why not be aware of the interior changes happening within. Today, the 31st Sunday through the liturgical year has us hearing the biblical narrative of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) , a man who knows he is neither right with God nor with fellow men. The desires of his heart moved Zacchaeus to find a way to see the Lord and yet the Lord first spoke to Zacchaeus: come down, I am coming to where you live now. Are you and I going to allow the Lord into our home?

Saint Cyril of Alexandria offers us a keen reflection: “Zacchaeus was leader of the tax collectors, a man entirely abandoned to greed, whose only goal was the increase of his gains. This was the practice of the tax collectors, although Paul calls it idolatry, possibly as being suitable only for those who have no knowledge of God. Since they shamelessly, openly professed this vice, the Lord very justly joined them with the prostitutes, saying ‘The prostitutes and the tax collectors go before you into the kingdom of God.’ Zacchaeus did not continue to be among them, but he was found worthy of mercy at Christ’s hands. He calls near those who are far away and gives light to those who are in darkness.”

Mercy is love without boundaries.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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