Friday, July 7, 2017

Gospel Words Today: Mercy and Sacrifice

Let's start with two definitions (from

1. Mercy - compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence

2. Sacrifice - the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim

Now, let's read today's Gospel (Matthew 9:9-13):

As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" He heard this and said, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

After reading this, I decided to do as Jesus asks . . . "Go and learn the meaning of the words . . ." By definition, I completely understand what Jesus means. Mercy is forgiving and sacrifice is suffering. Which is the more difficult challenge? Hands down, forgiving offenders. I would gladly suffer for Christ, my husband, my children, grandchildren and all those I love. I would stand in front of a bullet for them . . . die for them. There is no suffering so great it could deter me from protecting what is most important in my life. But the whole mercy thing . . . why is it so hard to forgive our offenders? And, how do we forgive those who continually want to disrupt our lives? Mercy. Jesus desires this of us. By using the word "desires" in Scripture today, Jesus is basically declaring He knows we aren't perfect and we won't always get it right. However, if we are doing our best to be merciful, He will be pleased. There have been many times I've refrained from rebuttal emails which could agitate an already difficult situation; or just plain ol' keeping my opinion to myself . . . and pray for the person disrupting the peace I work so hard to maintain!

In Heaven Speaks to Those Who Struggle to Forgive, Jesus teaches us by having mercy for others, we obtain mercy for ourselves:

"Bitterness characterizes My enemy. Forgiveness characterizes Me. You, a beloved little child of God, seek to find peace in your heart. You will only find peace if you step into the stream of goodness. This stream is like a river of grace with which I desire to bathe you, removing all pain and injury. What will remain in your soul is joy. This joy, this heavenly peace, will be obtained by accepting your flaws and accepting the flaws of others. You see, My friend, if you accept the flaws and sins of others, you will soften in attitude toward yourself. I love you. I accept you. I need you to accept yourself so that you will be at peace in My Kingdom and it is through forgiving others that you will find acceptance of your own humanity."

Lay apostles, did you offend someone today? Apologize. Were you offended? Have mercy. Did you make a poor choice you regret? Accept it and forgive yourself. Do as Jesus desires . . .

Thank you, Lord, for giving me words of wisdom, showing me the value of mercy is priceless. Please continue to redirect my thoughts when I want so badly to debate!

God bless,

No comments: