25 February. Monday in the Second Week of Lent
May I remind all members of the ACP: You are most welcome to contribute Homily Resource material to this website. Two paragraphs are fine for weekdays; a little more for Sundays. If possible, send it to me at least a week in advance of the date on which it applies. Send it to: rogers AT mountargus.ie
Daniel 9:4ff. The exiles’ prayer of repentance as they turn back to God their Saviour.
Lk 6:36ff. Jesus calls us to be perfect in the virtue of mercy, in imitation of God himself.
First Reading: Daniel 9:4-10
I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, keeping covenant and steadfast love with those who love you and keep your commandments, we have sinned and done wrong, acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and ordinances. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.
“Righteousness is on your side, O Lord, but open shame, as at this day, falls on us, the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you.
Open shame, O Lord, falls on us, our kings, our officials, and our ancestors, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by following his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
Gospel: Luke 6:36-38
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.”
At the place where in Matthew’s report of the sermon on the mount Jesus says, “You must be perfect as your heavenly Father” (Matt 5:48), Luke’s sermon on the plain, reads instead: “Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate.” Our Lord’s expectations according to Luke are more specific and more attainable. All sinners ought to be capable of compassion, as they continually seek this very response of mercy from God. Yet, Jesus does not allow half-measures; it seems it must be all or nothing! Forgiveness must be generously available to anyone who has hurt us, so that it runs over and pours into the folds of our clothing. We are expected to bestow twice as much love as the other person showed us hate, twice as much trust as the other party manifested suspicion.
Wanting this divine spirit of compassion and pardon, we can pray for mercy like Daniel in today’s reading. Daniel admits several times to be “shamefaced.” Shame can be crippling but on the other hand it can also be purifying and transforming. A healthy kind of shame helps us let go of unbalanced pride and make-believe, so as to make room for humility and honesty. It freely admits whatever was wrong, this time from the attitude of an awakened conscience. It can helps the adult to again be childlike in spirit. Such an adult trusts, loves and forgives as easily as God himself; and as Jesus says, the kingdom of God is theirs.