When the Lord appeared to St. Faustina he said, “The flames of MERCY are burning me. I desire to pour them out upon human souls. Oh, what pain they cause Me when they do not want to accept them.” - Faustina Diary, ( 1074, Paragraph 2)
Is mercy still relevant in our contemporary world today? I think it is not! This is because we live in a world where the negative influences have deceived us into thinking that we can’t trust one another so people think that it is stupid and foolish to be merciful. Instead, vengeance, litigation in court, tit for tat, etc. have been used to prove how strong one is. Of course, the world has made us enemies to ourselves; because litigation, etc. can bring money, but what does mercy bring?
Unfortunately, we carry this misleading concept into our Christian beliefs and faith. We sometimes want to think for God; that once we have trespassed there is no mercy and forgiveness for us. But the mercy of the Lord can never be fathomed! It is part of the Divine mystery. It is constant. It is ever sure and unlimited. His mercy epitomizes His love for us.
It is against this background that the sage of wisdom (the author of the first reading) sought to bolster the faith of the Jews in diaspora in the city of Alexandria on the issue of God forgiving the sins of evildoers. He encouraged that God has patience. He gives us a second chance hoping that we will repent. God does not loathe what He has fashioned Himself.
This affirms the benevolent, compassionate and forgiving mercy of God. He does not give up on us. He does not condemn us but waits for us with love and hope to save us. The mercy of God is the gate that receives us to salvation. The mercy of God is an invitation for our repentance. What are you waiting for? Just open up to Him... Avail yourself and be ready... Your life will never be the same.
Apostle Paul in our second reading had to diffuse a misconception about the imminence of the parousia (i.e., the second coming of Christ) that was spread amongst the new converts. Paul’s aim was to encourage them to continue to persevere in the faith, continue to glorify Jesus Christ, and stop the idle waiting. Because of misleading information about the second coming of Christ and the sense of urgency created, almost all of the Christians had ceased working or stopped living their faith, etc.
Bad enough, in our 21st century there are a lot of antithesis and deceptive theories that sound convincing, which have taken a lot of Christians away from their faith and their churches; especially the Catholics.
By this, sisters and brothers in Christ, we are reminded to be very careful not to allow ourselves to be influenced negatively, and be alert to discern deeply with our decisions and choices. There are a lot of “sugar-coated lies” out there in our world today; decipher well before you act.
Our gospel reading presents to us the episode of Jesus and Zacchaeus (a tax collector, a sinner) The former’s entrance into the life (house) of the latter engendered repentance and subsequent salvation. Zacchaeus’ readiness and availability to respond to Jesus’ invitation brought about a change of his life story.
I don’t know your life story: you might be battling with a past experience, you might be dealing with a guilt in your conscience, you might be struggling with a particular sin (i.e., attitude, behavior, character, etc.) you’re addicted to, there may be a stigma you might have created for yourself in the society, a mistake you goofed about which is hunting you and giving you a sleepless nightmare, or the worst of it all you feel so much depressed and ashamed to the extent that you be contemplating causing suicide... Oh no don’t do it!
Like Zacchaeus give Jesus a chance to enter your heart. Be bold to give up on your sins. Avail yourself to take advantage of the mercy of God. Just open up to Him. He has not given up on you. He loves you... He is ready to save you... are you ready to be saved? Just grab it! The saints are interceding for you... you are never alone. May God bless you. Let’s meet at Mass.
Be assured of my prayers. Stay warm...Drive safely...
Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.