February 26-27: Mercy / La Misericordia

Have you ever opened your Bible to compare, for example, a couple of Gospel texts? Such an exercise would bear fruit like this gem: in St. Matthew’s account of the Beatitudes, Jesus says, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect;” meanwhile, St. Luke recalls these words from Jesus, “Be merciful, as your Father is merciful.” Doesn’t it seem that St. Luke’s expectations are more specific and more attainable? All things are possible with God, but “perfection” seems to set the bar pretty high!

All of us ought to be capable of mercy and compassion, right? We continually seek, especially during Lent, a response of compassion and mercy from God. Yet, how is it that we are reluctant to extend the same to others? Jesus does not allow half-measures, nor hypocrisy! Pardon, He says, must be bestowed so generously upon anyone who has wronged us, that it runs over and pours into the folds of our own garments. In fact, we are expected to bestow twice as much love as the other person who offended us.

This ideal of compassion can be partly learned, as we meditate upon the example of Jesus. Yet, His attitude of overwhelming goodness and understanding can never be fully and adequately learned by study, nor can it be acquired by human effort, no matter how diligent and persevering we may be. We cannot transform ourselves into God, as the human race should have learned at the beginning (Genesis 3, 5).

The Lenten call from Jesus us to give ourselves to God unconditionally and without reservation. Without knowing all that will happen to us or all that will be asked of us, can we give ourselves totally into God’s merciful hands? Are we willing to make Jesus’ prayer our own? “Not my will, but yours be done.” Are we willing to let God act through us, reaching others with infinite compassion, tender mercy, and complete trust?


La Cuaresma nos está enseñando (de nuevo) que reconocer el pecado, lamentarlo, y buscar perdón es una realidad que puede existir realmente sólo donde hay genuina amistad y cuando la conciencia de esta amistad ha sido herida o incluso destruida. Sin amistad con Dios y con los demás, el pecado permanece simplemente como basura que hay que barrer, el dolor o pesar es apenas un remordimiento superficial de algo que no debería haber ocurrido, y el perdón es, a todo más, un intento de borrar el pasado. Pero “pecado, pesar, y perdón” deben entenderse a la luz de la Alianza, sellada con un Dios infinitamente misericordioso, que nos amó primero. También a la luz de la relación con nuestro prójimo, con quien hemos sido salvados y hecho hermanos y hermanas gracias a esta unión de vida y de amor con Dios.

Para reflejar (gracias a las Escrituras Cuaresmales): “Sean misericordiosos como su Padre del cielo es misericordioso; perdonen y se les perdonará.”

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