(2 Sm 11:1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17; Ps 51:3-4, 5-6a, 6bcd-7, 10-11, 18-19; Mk 4:26-34)
The truth is we cannot comprehend how far God’s mercy reaches. A look around the world today and we witness a state of serious sin among its people. We witness the brokenheartedness that resulted from sin, and we witness a people lost – searching for that one thing that only God can offer – the healing balm of Godly love. So the question becomes, can the sinner be redeemed, can he be saved? Or is the sinner lost, sentenced to the pain of separation from God for all eternity?
I believe the answer can, in part, be found in today’s readings. David, the great king whose lineage would eventually give us Joseph, Mary and Jesus Christ himself, had certainly found favor with God. The last several weeks we have read what a great man and leader King David was. He fought the giant Goliath and won, he treated Saul with the honor and respect due him, and just yesterday we witnessed David’s heartfelt humility and love for our Lord God. God blessed David’s house, a blessing that would last for all of eternity. Oh how God must love David.
Then today…. Oh David! Seriously, after receiving all of that from God and having such a beautiful personal relationship with Him – you fall into lust, adultery and murder? Sins, that rank pretty high on the sin scale by any measure. Oh, how weak we human beings can be. Yes, David the great king was human, and in being so, he was subject to human weakness. However, God in all his loving mercy remained faithful to the promise he made with David. Yes, God kept his word. God continued to bless David and show him mercy in spite of David’s sinful nature.
David, after all the sins he committed, still received the blessings God promised. He gets the girl and he is blessed with a male heir to his throne. Remember, after taking the beautiful Bathsheba as his wife, she gives birth to a son – Solomon who would become another great king. Yes, God is good and David was blessed indeed.
However, somehow it doesn’t seem quite fair does it? A sinner such as David still receives God’s mercy and apparent favor? Of course, we know David was a virtuous man in many ways and that God saw David’s goodness. However, sometimes we scratch our heads and say – really God? One can one fall to lust, commit adultery and murder and still be redeemed by offering an abundance of good works coupled with desire to have a relationship with you? Yes – you see, human judgement cannot comprehend the loving mercy of God. They key here is David’s desire to have a relationship with God coupled with the steps he took to foster this relationship. Remember, David actively participated in a relationship with God over and over.
To know the mind of God is beyond all human comprehension. This is why we are called to not judge as judgement is God’s alone. Only God has the ability, authority and power to offer definitive judgement. Remember, God “desires all men to be saved” (1 Tim 2:4), and that for him “all things are possible” (Mt 19:26). So, let’s leave it with God. Let’s not judge the David’s in the world (for good or bad), let’s not judge our neighbors, our family, our friends. Let’s focus on what God want us to focus on.
So what are we called too focus on? Of course we are called to love God above all others and to love our brothers as ourselves! And how can we do that this year in particular? Pope Francis has declared this year a year of Mercy – beyond beautiful. (don’t you just love being Catholic!!!!) We are called to show mercy, to show love to one another and in doing so we participate with God’s plan for humanity. So let’s take a look at what we can do!
Corporal Works of Mercy
- Feed the hungry
- Give drink to the thirsty
- Clothe the naked
- Welcome the stranger
- Heal the sick
- Visit the imprisoned
- Bury the dead
Spiritual Works of Mercy
- Counsel the doubtful
- Instruct the ignorant
- Admonish sinners (warn sinners of the consequences of their errors)
- Comfort the afflicted
- Forgive offences
- Bear patiently those who do us ill
- Pray for the living and the dead
So let’s together grow in mercy under the loving guidance of Papa Francis! Maybe print out the above Works of Mercy and post them in your home somewhere for you and your family to see. Let them serve as a gentle reminder that our true purpose for living is to be of service to one another, under the gentle guidance of the most loving and merciful Father we could ever imagine.
Yes, God can use each and every one of us, sin and all, to build up his kingdom. He can take us, the little mustard seed that we are, and grow us into the most magnificent tree that provides shelter and shade for the multitudes. However, we must do our part, we must say yes to God, we must be his hands and feet, we must live out works of mercy and when we do we join Team God!
Sacred heart of Jesus – have mercy on us.