The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

3rd Week of Lent

Date: 
Mon, 03/05/2018
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

When we invoke God and say “Lord, be gracious to your people”
are we referring only to ourselves?  No!  That would be rather selfish.
We are referring to all sinners….and the worse sinners need the greatest mercy.
And how will we feel when we see God’s mercy extended to the greatest of sinners?
Who are the greatest sinners?  The people who offend us, of course.
 
We have no problem saying “Great are the works of the Lord.
They should be pondered by those who love Him; they should be pondered by us.”
I’m not talking about signs in the sky.
I’m talking about how God works to change the human heart.
God’s generosity exceeds  any and all human notions of what is good.
God has sent deliverance to all people.
God fills the earth with His mercy.
And what does God command?  ….that we show mercy.  It is a demand and a duty.
 
Jesus tries to point this out to the people in his hometown synagogue.
Through the great prophets Elijah and Elisha, God showed mercy to Gentiles;
God extended His help to a poor widow and to a leper
who were not members of the chosen people.
Through these prophets God was revealing the truth of His mercy:
it is extended to all people….not just to the privileged.
In a way, Jesus was implying “…you honor these prophets.
You see God’s work in and through them.  How come you don’t follow their example?
When was the last time any of you took the time to help a Gentile widow?
When was the last time any of you showed mercy to a leper?
God shows mercy to the needy.  Shouldn’t you do the same?”
(From our perspective we know….Jesus does the same thing as these great prophets.
Eventually he is crucified for being so generous with God’s mercy.)
 
The people didn’t want to hear it.  They were stung to fury….
so much so that they threatened Jesus’ life.
They could not accept Jesus, one of their own, as a source of divine instruction:
“God is generous with His mercy.  Isn’t this wonderful.
Isn’t this a great act on God’s part that we should reflect upon and praise?”
 
We live in times when people don’t want to show mercy.
They want what they believe to be justice. 
But it’s “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth justice.”
Even worse, it’s the extreme of vengeance and retaliation:
“if you hurt me I have to hurt you twice as much.
If you make my life difficult, I have to make your life twice as difficult.”
 
One of the calls of Lent is a call to show mercy, not human mercy but God’s mercy.
It’s a call to help those in need even when those in need are our enemies…
and even before they show any sign of remorse.
There is a truth to be uncovered here:  we all need to be instructed in the ways of God’s mercy.
I will be so bold as to say:  we will never find God if we never show mercy.
 
Today’s prayer:  “O Lord, teach us Your ways that we may walk in Your paths.   Help us to understand:  there is no salvation without mercy.  Bring us new life through Your Spirit.  Amen!”