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Sunday, September 11, 2016

What is your attitude towards others — that of a lover or that of a user? Before God’s mercy, is your disposition one of presumption or trust? - Daily Reflections September 11, 2016

BE A LOVER, NOT A USER
 
During the Lenten season of 2015, Pope Francis, in a Friday penitential service homily, announced an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. We are currently in that Year of Mercy, which began on December 8, 2015 and will end on November 20, 2016, the feast of Christ the King. Pope Francis wants the whole Church “to rediscover and make fruitful the mercy of God.”
       Today’s First Reading provides a good opportunity to reflect on the mercy of God. It shows Yahweh relenting in the punishment he had threatened to inflict on His people upon the intervention of Moses. Some interpret this as a divine weakness, a chink in the divine armor. So if a weak man like Moses can overturn God’s decision, what kind of a God is that?
       Some may see this Exodus episode as a failure of sorts but for those attuned to the ways of God, it is not a failure but rather a merciful postponement. It is time given for the possibility of renewal. It is not a divine failure; it is rather a divine mercy.
     Today’s Gospel from Luke 15 is known as the mercy chapter. It contains three beautiful parables showing God’s mercy towards us sinners: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. Jesus teaches us that God indeed is just, but He is more than just — He is love. Through the loving embrace of the father welcoming the prodigal son, Jesus invites us to have confidence on the Father’s mercy. But let us be reminded that God’s mercy is not to be mocked. We mock God’s mercy when we see the “relented” punishment that we deserve as a failure on God’s part.
       Jesus calls us to trust in the Father’s mercy, not to presume it. Trust is the attitude of a lover. Presumption is the attitude of a user. When we presume something, we become complacent and abusive. A husband who presumes the love of his wife willingly commits infidelity, thinking that “after all, she will take me back.” A Christian who presumes God’s mercy willingly sins, thinking, “after all, I can always go to confession.”
       Be a lover, not a user. Fr. Joel Jason
 
 
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What is your attitude towards others — that of a lover or that of a user? Before God’s mercy, is your disposition one of presumption or trust?
 
As I have received mercy, so may I be a dispenser of it, O Lord. Amen.

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