Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time, October 9
By Living in God, May We Remain True to His Will and Be Imitators of His Love and Mercy in Our Daily Lives As True Children of the Eternal One, Whom Jesus Has Taught Us to Call “Abba”, Our Most Loving and Merciful Father.
“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in mercy and truth” – a verse of thanksgiving and praise, a part of which we repeat in the antiphon for today’s Responsorial Psalm.
Today, we read the conclusion from the Book of the Prophet Jonah, and how Jonah was filled with anger over the destruction of the plant that was protecting him from the sun, even to the point when he cried out, “I would be better off dead than alive.” But, in reality, he was still angry that God had spared the city of Nineveh which Jonah had prophesied would be destroyed by God.
God is using a gourd plant to teach Jonah a lesson about who God is – a merciful God, full of compassion, “slow to anger, abounding in mercy and truth.” Does Jonah get it? We never know, because the story ends with God’s words of universal concern for all the inhabitants of Nineveh, even including the animals.
So, the real point is, do we get it? Are we able to open our hearts and accept the fact that God loves each of His children with an indescribable and unfathomable love, even including the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center on September 11th, even including Hitler and the soldiers of the Nazi regime in World War II, and all the other despotic rulers of human history?
It is a concept that is difficult for many to accept. I am sure we have all heard the age-old expression, “God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.” Are we open to accepting the fact that God loves each of us that much? Jonah, himself, had a difficult time accepting this Truth.
Unlike us, God does not act out of blind anger or spiteful retaliation. Actually, Jonah knows this. He says the right words when he tells God why he first fled from his mission: “I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in clemency, loathe to punish.” But he cannot accept it. He truly does not understand who this God really is.
Do we? Do we truly believe that, beyond our wildest dreams or imagination, despite our worst sins, we are loved with an extravagant and truly generous Love that is also Eternal?
Our anger, no matter how well justified, never serves our own well-being, the well-being of others, or God’s purposes. Even Jonah desires to die so that he does not have to confront his anger. No wonder Paul tells us in his Letter to the Ephesians, “…do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil.”
Failing to forgive, being unwilling to forgive only sets us up for sadness which is filled with anything but peace! And this example is given to us when we look at Jonah today, and witness the fact that his unwillingness to accept that God can bestow His Mercy upon even the worst sinner who repents filled him with great anxiety and frustration.
Through the prophet Ezekiel, God says, “You say, ‘The LORD’s way is not fair!’ Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair? [Or] are not your ways unfair?”
And through the prophet Isaiah, God says, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways’, says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’”
And to better understand the Love and Mercy which our Heavenly Father has for all His creation, our Lord, in today’s Gospel, gives us a lesson on how to pray. And in this prayer (which is an abbreviated version of what we find in Matthew’s Gospel), He teaches us the necessity of forgiving if we, ourselves, ever expect to be forgiven.
Each one of us is expected to show mercy towards others, if we are to expect God to show us His Mercy, remembering our Lord’s teaching from the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Each of us must find it within ourselves to take the time and effort to reach out to God’s Spirit of Love and ask for the gift of loving as He loves, for the gift of being able to forgive as only He can forgive, and for the charism of being holy so that we may live our lives in imitation of God’s Holiness.
Being able to forgive, even when it is most difficult, becomes a gift from God, a special grace given to us in answer to our earnest prayer, “…forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us.”
Only with God’s help, can we truly forgive! Only by trusting in and living in God can we become Christ-like in the love and mercy we show towards others!
As we reflect upon the words of our psalmist today, “Lord, you are merciful and gracious” – may each of us recognize in our Heavenly Father the Infinite Treasure of His Merciful Love and the eternal constancy of His providential care for you and me.
And by living in God, may we remain true to His will and be imitators of His Infinite Love and Divine Mercy in our daily lives – in our every thought, in our every word, in our every deed as true children of the Eternal One, whom Jesus has taught us to call “Abba”, our Most Loving and Merciful Father. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in mercy and truth.” (Psalm 86:15)
- “[Jonah] prayed to the LORD, ‘O LORD…I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in clemency, loathe to punish.’” (Jonah 4:2ac)
- “But God said to Jonah, ‘Do you have a right to be angry…?’ Jonah answered, ‘I have a right to be angry – angry enough to die.’” (Jonah 4:9)
- “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)
- “You say, ‘The LORD’s way is not fair!’ Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair? [Or] are not your ways unfair?” (Ezekiel 18:25)
- “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways’, says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
- “For the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13)
- “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
- “Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven…For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Luke 6:36-37, 38c)
- “…forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us.” (Luke 11:4a)
- “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Prayer for the Day
“O Greatly Merciful God, Infinite Goodness,
today all mankind calls out from the abyss of its misery
to Your mercy – to Your compassion, O God;
and it is with its mighty voice of misery that it cries out.
do not reject the prayer of this Earth’s exiles!
O Lord, Goodness beyond our understanding,
Who are acquainted with our misery through and through,
and know that by our own power we cannot ascend to You.
“We implore You: anticipate us with Your grace
and keep on increasing Your mercy in us,
that we may faithfully do Your holy will
all through our life and at death’s hour.
“Let the omnipotence of Your mercy
shield us from the darts of our salvation’s enemies,
that we may, with confidence, as Your children,
await Your final coming – that day known to You alone.
And we expect to obtain everything promised us by Jesus
in spite of all our wretchedness.
“For Jesus is our Hope:
Through His Merciful Heart, as through an open gate,
we pass through to Heaven.”Prayer for Divine Mercy (Saint Faustina, Diary, 1570)