Jesus said to his disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
Today is Monday the 18 March in the second week of Lent.
The St Thomas Music Group sing the Kyrie by Margaret Rizza: Kyrie eleison; Christe eleison: Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy. These imploring words, which have been sung for centuries, are a reminder of the inexhaustible mercy of God, of God’s unfailing compassion and forgiveness. As I listen, I might think for a moment about my need for that forgiveness, and the need, too, for me to show that same forgiveness to others.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Luke.
This season of Lent is a time when we’re helped to prepare for Easter, by fasting, by giving to those in need, and by prayerfully reflecting on the direction our life is taking. As you heard those words of Jesus, was there anything that struck you, perhaps about the direction in which your life is going? Did it make you feel uncomfortable – and, if so, why? Did something inside you say, “Yes – that’s it!” – and, if so, why?
Jesus told us in that reading, “be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”. Do you think of God as merciful and generous, or as someone who is out to condemn? What d’you think of the picture of “a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over into your lap”? How does it make you feel about God?
What about the words, “do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven”? D’you think that we human beings find it more appealing to condemn people than to forgive them? Why do you think that might be?
Listen to the reading again. It’s not very long, so listen carefully, and as you hear it, notice if you feel invited to say anything to God in response to what you hear.
Now, if there was anything you wanted to say to God, say it. Speak to God freely and openly. Tell God whatever is in your heart.