In my file, labelled My Writing, I found a piece with this title – Mercy – Gotten and Given. I had no recollection of writing the piece, but I looked forward to refreshing my memory of it. Turns out there was not another word written…just the title – a disappointing discovery, but, I took it as a sign that it was time to follow the title up with some thoughts. And, as we near the end of this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, I thought it an appropriate time to give it a go.
This Sunday, and last, the Gospels speak of tax collectors – the lowest of the low, in the eyes of the general public, in Jesus’ time. And yet, the tax collector in last Sunday’s Gospel prayed to God in a way that won him favour over that of the Pharisee. This week, another tax collector, Zacchaeus, is at the center of a story being told for our benefit. The first gospel teaching us to pray in a way that is pleasing to God; the second teaching us how to seek out Jesus, pushing past our own limitations and, not only meeting him, but bringing him into our homes.
God’s mercy is such that we don’t even have to meet him half way. We don’t have to do much of anything really, to experience God’s tender mercy, but when we acknowledge our sinfulness; when we make that extra effort to seek God, I believe we increase those spiritual benefits bestowed upon us. And, once received, we must pass them on to others, because, as St. Francis says, it is in giving that we truly receive. So, my take on – Be merciful as the Father is merciful - Luke 6.36 - is simply Mercy – once it’s gotten it must then be given. Pass it on! by Margery Frisch