Saturday, February 27, 2016
Scandal of Mercy
Year of Mercy is an invitation to go out to others in love, kindness and generosity because God continues to show mercy to us. During this period of Lent, we repent of our failings because we know the mercy of God embraces us.
In the Catholic Times on the opinion page, a priest mentions mercy is not a concept easily understood in history. Jesus found it difficult dealing with leaders in society for they found him blurring the lines between good and bad: a man who lost his wits.
Put simply, religious rulers of society couldn't understand why Jesus, with a stern face, didn't reprimand those living sinful lives. Instead, he frequented their meals and associated with them. Teachers in society found this a great scandal. "This one is a glutton and drunkard, a lover of tax collectors and those outside the law!" (Matt. 11:19).
Those who considered themselves the righteous ones of society found everything that Jesus did upsetting. Not difficult to understand the umbrage, hearing from his lips: " I assure you that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you" (Matt. 21:31). He was telling the leaders of society that God's mercy was for everybody, and that message was a stumbling block to them but liberating news to the sinners.
In Luke 6:36, we are told: "Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate." Even today when this kind of talk is carried out in action, it becomes a reason for scandal. In our Church society in recent memory, we heard much talk about being more sensitive to those who are hurting but when it comes to talking about pastoral ways of dealing with these persons, many find it a great obstacle.
The summit of this scandal of mercy is love for our enemies. This is God's 'sun shine policy to humanity' which makes us Christian, but one of the teachings we want to forget.
In society, the threatening atmosphere surrounding the North-South Division: talk about dialogue and rapprochement, opens oneself up to be stoned. Can we say we are free from fear, hate and anger present in society?