The 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Sin and sorrow dry the bones and degrade human dignity. Whereas acts of kindness and charity enhance it. Being merciful and compassionate manifests the image of the One who created us. Those who do justly and love mercy shall have comfort, even in this world. We have only to recall the words of the prophet Micah. “The Lord has told you, what is good. And this is what he requires of you: to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Mi. 6:8). When confronted with sin and sorrow, our response needs to be mercy and compassion. When confronted by violence and contempt, we need to find the path to healing and reconciliation. When confronted with guilt and shame, we need to accompany people to forgiveness and the newness of life. The good that God requires of us is not that we pay for the pardon of our sins, but rather that we allow ourselves to be consumed by the Fire of Divine Love. In the warmth of the flame, we are brought close to the heart of Christ. Jesus has a sense of humor throughout the whole process. “When you have done all the things that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants who only did what we were told’” (Lk. 17:10).
Those who do justly, and love mercy will know the blessing of God. Faith in God’s merciful love and compassion will enable us to get over any hurdle blocking us from forgiving others. The words spoken by Mary’s cousin could apply to us. “Blessed are you because you believed that the Lord would be true to his word” (Lk. 1:45). God is faithful and with Him nothing is impossible. Because he is faithful and true, all things are possible to those who place their trust in him. The heart of a believer that has been touched by the Spirit of God is like a needle of a compass that has been touched with a loadstone, it turns directly to God. Drawn by his grace, we find the path to justice and mercy. Trusting in the Lord is the best and surest way of finding firm footing. Following him who is our way, we journey to the arms of our loving Father. As disciples of the Beloved Son, we must set our sights on the will of the Father and do everything for the glory of God.
Those who do justly and love mercy are like the first rays of light breaking forth at the dawning of a new day. The rising of the morning star will drive out darkness and death and enable us to see each other’s faces. I found these beautiful words of Pope Leo XIII. “No one is so rich that he does not need another’s help; no one so poor as not to be useful in some way to his fellow man; and the disposition to ask assistance from others with confidence and to grant it with kindness is part of our very nature.” The glory shining on the face of Christ shines on us and allows us to be agents of the father’s mercy and justice for people walking in darkness and distress. In him who is the Light of the World, we become light shining out in the darkness and beacons of hope. The love of God became tangible in Christ to show us that love is not a feeling but an act. As disciples of the one who became poor to make us rich, we encounter one another to enrich each other with the little we have to offer.
The Lord Jesus sees our pain. His heart is moved to pity, and he desires to console and heal us. He also knows our sinfulness and freely offers us the possibility of being forgiven and starting afresh. Pope Francis reminded us, “Jesus surprises us. He takes us by the hand when we are falling. He lifts us up when we are hitting rock bottom.” Clinging to Christ’s outstretched arm, we can become agents of justice and mercy in the world. Knowing ourselves to be called and forgiven, we can apply Christ’s healing balm to our sin-sick world. Seeing ourselves as brothers and sisters in the Son we can walk the path God has placed before us. Having been consumed by the Fire of Divine Love we can let our light shine. As Christians, we need to roll up our sleeves and plunge into the human mix. Only then can we make a difference and sow the seeds of justice and mercy. When we do justice and live in the right relationships with others we become collaborators with our heavenly Father in building up the Kingdom. It’s an awesome responsibility for those who are called to announce the Good News and point the way to Jesus. When words fail me, I turn to a poet to give expression to the ineffable.
Auguries of Innocence
BY William Blake
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.