The logic of God’s mercy
Author: Celso da Silva | Source: lc.blog
Our God is the God of the meeting that encounters the fallen man, his handiwork. And we marvel at the madness of a God who always precedes and surprises.
The Incarnation of the unique and unrepeatable Word of God the Father did not come down in the womb of Mary just to take a tourist trip in the country of human beings, involved and engaged with us. If only I had gone down to go through our lives like a tourist who contemplates passively indifferent and leaves, then his coming would never have radically disrupted the course of human history.
"And the Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us” - is the literal and faithful translation of the original Greek of St. Luke “pitched his tent”, that is, God didn´t come with a passport as a tourist, but as one of us. It doesn´t mean one more in the context of human history, but is God among men, God made flesh among us. Kenosis is, putting off that cost the Favorite Son of the Father.
However, we see a dispossession that perhaps has not yet drawn attention to us and it´s precisely this Kenosis daring to lower himself a little more and share the table with sinners. Christ fits all to save all as later he expressed St. Paul and this is the key to meditation to take the fruit of this amazing encounter of Jesus with sinners and how Jesus at once is with me and with each man at the table of everyday.
Mercy: heaven touches the mire of sin
Sharing the table, eating the same bread goes far beyond mere body satiate of hunger, because it involves and promotes the values and the noblest virtues in the heart of man. Sharing the table is synonymous with friendship, cordiality, joy, unity and in this context the gospel is when Jesus shedding his being equal to God the Father, mixed among sinners, prostitutes, thieves, without ceasing to be God. The sky touches the mire of sin.
A few hours before Jesus came to sit at the table of the disheartened sinful people, his finger had pointed out in love to one of his apostles, electing him and drawing his attention and hearts of shining brilliance of the coins that were full of his tax table. Levi is now Matthew, who years later awaken in his memory that beautiful spark call and will not hesitate to tell it in his gospel. Therefore, Jesus is having dinner at Matthew's house. And the encounter with the Lord injures his soul like a sharp sword, sword that helped him become, in a word: mercy.
It may seem that the world today is not so different from the world of Matthew and perhaps still our hearts go astray and don´t grasp that Jesus is mercy that comes and sits at the table of our lives, of our daily duties, of our problems and especially our disheartened. Remember that God is mercy and that we are beggars of God, this to experience a soothing balm that trickles from the tip of the last hair to toe; It is known willed by God. Because it´s true that we are wounded, we can constantly walk with wounds. How many wounds we carry through life! Wounds caused by our fault, wounds caused by others, friends, relatives, very bad people... And Jesus with His mercy is to be a balm that heals our wounds of sin and loneliness so that we can lift his head again and move on, on the long road of life.
Mercy: a logic that scandalizes:
An idea that always comes to the heart is that it´s still difficult to accept that Christ is going to eat with the worst of sinners, who casts down so much. Our sin and our hearts hardened, between wrangling comes to accept that God embrace those that- people in our opinion- not deserve so much love and so much closeness of God. We often see the picture of mercy from afar, without much commitment, without risking to touch the suffering flesh of Christ in the brother, and not we, prefer to see from afar and spend long indifferent. "Why does your teacher eats with tax collectors and sinners?” It´s the scandal that encourage, because God's logic is overwhelming. Within us cries the powerful voice of "do ut des mihi" while Mercy is donated to whom nothing can compensate. On the facade of our hearts we have placed a sign: "oculus pro oculo, Dens pro dente" while Jesus comes to meet those who have fallen dividing his forgiveness, sometimes offering his cheek, because he knows that we tend to forget our good promises conversion and inner change; He knows that without his grace and mercy, which we swear in the light, we deny in darkness, because we are sinners.
I remember one time when I really saw that many times we need to open ourselves to the grace and divine sense of forgiveness and mercy. I finished my second year of novitiate in Colombia. It was a newly professed temporary vows left the spiritual birthplace of the novitiate. One-way airport-was going to visit my family in Brazil-the cabbie began to talk to me and told me he believed in God and his love, the Lord never had forgotten because he was happy and blessed with thankfulness. He had a wonderful wife and two lovely children. His work was a thousand wonders and had always striven to be a good person and a good Christian. At a certain point in the conversation I said, "Father, I find it hard to understand and accept that there is such bad people in this world and also, things go well with them! It´s that they don´t deserve. They are bad and sometimes, while God allows more successful and better than us that we strive to live honestly, to earn our money and our bread by the sweat of our brow, by always having a good conscience? ".
I felt it was very true what that taxi driver said. The human mind is like what happened in the parable of those who were called to work in the vineyard; at the end of the day the Lord also paid to everyone, both those who worked all day as those who worked only a small part of the day. That brought the complaint and dissatisfaction of those who rose early in the Lord's vineyard: "How is it possible that those who worked earn very little like us who have wearied in your vineyard?”. The complaint of the taxi driver was like the parable. It went through my mind, the parable of the prodigal son. Is the same rationalist complaint from the heart of the eldest son, once he gets home, he hears music, he learns that no party because her younger brother has returned, and therefore unworthy and complains. "Father, these many years do I serve and never gave me a young goat to celebrate with my friends. This son of yours who exuded all your inheritance with prostitutes, now that I return you kill priming bullock and make party? It's the outrage of the taxi driver! The same! "Father, why do you bless bad people?”. I happen to agree with the taxi driver humanely.
However, the issue is that the cause of our complaints and misunderstandings before the infinite mercy of God toward sinners is that sometimes we work and we give ourselves totally in the Lord's vineyard, but do not work and deliver us with love and selflessness to the Lord of the vineyard. We opted to serve faithfully in the family home which results in our parish, in our community, at home, in the hospital, at work, at school, but opted to serve the Father of the house, that is, serve only God our Lord. We strive and we are interested in the things of God, but not God himself, who is Mercy and that is why we do not understand with the eyes of the Father the return of the fallen and the meeting was lost. We are concerned about the salary at the end of the day and the Lord of the vineyard is nothing but a pattern for us. We are pressing the money and property of the Father. And this is the main reason that even being in the house of the Father, being good Christians, followers and faithful adherent of the commandments, men and women of the Church and frequent sacraments, we don´t enter in tune with the mercy of Jesus to the worst of sinners; because if really our only treasure was Jesus, never spring up in our hearts complaints as gospel: "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"; complaints as the taxi driver: "Why did God bless and have mercy on those bad people?". We are speaking-in synthesis-this constant struggle that locks in the vast battlefield of the heart of every man. To love or hate? Forgive or revenge? Do I Help or cross my arms?
When we lurk the temptation to think or say that the worst sinners deserve due punishment for their sins- think those who are in prisons- not so easily fall into this temptation, because we are all sinners. Pope Francis expressed well in a general audience by touching the subject to visit prisoners: "They are no worse than us, because all we are also able to make mistakes in life” (1). The task of the Christian is to look with mercy and then the world can recognize that Jesus Christ is Lord and is Love, is balm that heals our wounds.
Mercy: a doctor who doesn´t give up:
The second reflection that leaves out precisely this meeting of the mouth of Jesus to those who criticized his attitude from afar: "no need of a physician those who are strong but those who are sick. But go and learn what love means mercy and not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. “This response of Christ is the condensation of his mission, his Kenosis, is the program to be followed by all who wish to follow him more closely, learn from Him who is meek and humble of heart.
In other circumstances of his public life, Jesus, showed his identity to humanity using symbols and images beautiful, very human, 'is the Light, the Way, the Good Shepherd - here in this encounter Jesus presents himself as doctor "I am the Doctor" -either the translation of his words , "are not the strong who need a physician, but sinners." Sin is a disease that is always with us and that is why Jesus wanted to meet every man, to take care, not to succumb and, of course, to live. And the medicine of life that He always apply in our hearts is Mercy.
Christ embraces and anoint our heart with the refreshing balm of his unconditional love. Doctor Jesus heals us with a pierced from the gibbet of the cross, saying that Christian life is a joy only when we enter this dynamic of mercy capable of changing the world heart. How good experience that Jesus Christ is their only doctor and medicine is Mercy! Since by his glorious wounds we are healed. He doesn´t cure crossing his arms, as any doctor in this land that after doing everything possible and even the impossible to save the patient, surrenders before his impotence and unfathomable mystery of death. Jesus, however, opens his arms and left nailed to the tree so that the blood falls from his wounded body and tortured by the weight of our sins watering our land infertility touched by sin and evil. And heals us and purifies us.
Therefore, Christian’s don´t worship any cross but revere the glorious cross of Jesus Christ. The little crosses that make up our journey through this world -pain, suffering, persecution, famine, war, death, misunderstanding, rejection, fatigue, and our infidelities - only find meaning and fulfillment when we look and worship Jesus Christ Crucified who, by his example, invites us to spread love and mercy in every corner of the earth. That's being a Christian, the rest is pretty story.
They say that the popular wisdom is often very true-and forgive the redundancy-wise. Those who have read "the First", know that it is a very picaresque novel, with a touch of mischief everywhere. But at the same time it brings an enormous wealth of experiential wisdom. The Spanish work of c. XVI tells the adventures of a poor, rogue and vagabond boy named Lazarillo, which will serve for seasons to different masters, who in turn offer protection and material support. Certain season of his adolescence, the boy went to live with a master who was blind. And often the blind drank good wine jars was taken and even offered a drink to the poor boy. Lazarillo then decided to make a trap. He made a hole in the bottom of the vase and with a kind of reed to sip drank some wine. The blind man sat crouched half and put the boy under his silent vase and enjoyed the delicious wine blind without noticing. One day the blind man touched the bottom of the vase and caught the trap. He filled the basin and began to drink. When the Lazarillo put his face under the jar, the blind splitting dropped the jar on the boy's face, which bled a while. Then, to heal the wounds that caused his face applied blind wine and addressing the rogue boy said, "The wine you split the face, now heals you" (2). This is a great lesson! The message, in the form of analogy regarding our redemption is clear within the context of the mercy of the Father who sent His only Son to the world. The fruit of the tree that made us sin, now in Jesus Christ, the blessed fruit of Mary's womb, which lies on the cross, the same tree comes salvation and healing the wounds of our "badinage" and our sins as the same wine that left the face of Lazarillo wounds healed him. He heals our wounds only the sweet mercy of God.
Mercy: how to enroll in this school:
The invitation of Jesus is that we enroll in the school of mercy, where we can to get our heart of stone. "Go therefore and learn what Mercy means I want, not sacrifice." First is the verb "go", that challenges us, moves us, shakes us from our comfort. To be merciful is necessary to test our heart, it´s a learning to always out to meet the others.
In the school of mercy tests overcome ourselves out, going through the streets and existential peripheries of both -Pope Francis speaks- and touching the pain and wiping away the tears of many of our brothers. It´s comfortable and eloquently preach or hear "I desire mercy, not sacrifice" within the parish, in selective and closed meetings of our communities, but this isn´t enough. If mercy is born from the loving heart of God, the Christian is called to commiserate and to suffer with those who suffer and mourn, to forgive contemplating the example of tender mercy of Christ. In the school of mercy the only mandatory for the test definition is: “Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us".
Mercy, not sacrifice. Jesus knew this response to carping only watch from afar and judge, quotes the prophet Hosea wrote: “because I want love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." The context of the prophet Hosea is the same of Christ among the criticisms and the same in our world today. God is not a collector of sacrifices and burnt offerings, God accepts and blesses the sacrifices anointed by genuine compassion, for true love. The sacrifice for sacrifice is crazy; the sacrifice made with love and tender mercy is the one that has a salvific meaning. Enough to contemplate the pierced!
The sacrifice of the Christian who fails to bear fruits of peace, sincere joy, and theological virtues in the soul is a masochism, because it carries mercy and love. It translates live like hell here on earth. The thermometer to measure whether I'm sacrificing myself joyously on the other is mercy, is to see if the heart beats to the rhythm of love that loved us first. And if not, we are living a deception.
This was the meeting of mercy. Surely after this encounter between God and every sinner man, in that kenosis to the end of the cross that involves love and sacrifice of God for us, we just want to ask the Lord to fill us with His mercy so that we may be faithful channels of your presence in the world and authentic witnesses of his infinite mercy.
POPE FRANCIS, General Audience, Plaza San Pedro, September 10, 2014.
LIFE of Lazarillo de Tormes, Espasa -Calpe, S.A., Madrid, 1949, the Treaty first: Lazarus has his life and whose son was; pag.86-88.