- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

September 16, 2017

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

23 Saturday in Ordinary Time
1 Timothy 1: 15 – 17; Ps 113; Luke 6: 43 – 49

St. Paul writing to Timothy gives him and us a very personal insight; it comes from his own unique relationship with God, a very profound experience of grace. He writes: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of these I am the foremost. But for this reason I was mercifully treated…”

In sharing this personal awareness Paul does something that is an important part of anyone’s spiritual journey. He names very clearly the grace he has received and gratefully acknowledges; his words: “But for that reason I was mercifully treated.

Paul, then, is able to pray in gratitude not in some vague way but clearly, consciously, sincerely for the most precious gift of God’s mercy. He also knows that this mercy graciously given and embraced becomes a light, an example to others, a cause for hope.

The gift you have received give as a gift. In our lives, in our journey of faith we have experienced and do experience and will continue to experience God’s infinite mercy. This touches us, enters us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation; it penetrates our depths in the Holy Eucharist, for us this is here and now – mercy is the very Body and Blood of the Lord. We, like Paul, are mercifully treated – the Lord’s mercy is always extravagant, beyond measure.

Jesus said, “A good person out of the store of goodness in the heart produces good” – God’s mercy is surely such a good, “grace upon grace”. To give, grant mercy to self, to another is to be God-like, a sign of true belonging in Christ. To hold back, to deny is, in reality, to trash the gift, to waste grace – to reject the Lord’s mercy. The choice is ours!