Our God is a forgiving God
Today we celebrate the 2nd Sunday after Easter or Sunday of Divine Mercy. There is a story told of a young French soldier who deserted Napoleon’s army but who, within a few hours was recaptured. To discourage other soldiers from abandoning their posts the penalty for desertion was death. When the young soldier’s mother heard what had happened she went immediately to plead with Napoleon to spare her son’s life. Napoleon heard her request but pointed out that because of the seriousness of the crime her son had committed he clearly did not deserve any mercy.
“I know the boy doesn’t deserve mercy, the mother answered. It wouldn’t be mercy if he deserved it.”
That’s the whole point about mercy. Nobody deserves it. While everyone deserves justice, mercy is a pure gift. It is a way of looking at people and then doing something about their pain. Mercy is a response to a problem, not a solution.
Forgiveness and mercy are very close to the heart and message of Jesus. While dying on the cross, he was praying for those who were killing him. The whole gospel is about forgiveness. The story of the Prodigal Son summarises the central message of the gospel. Our God is a forgiving God, and love is best expressed in through showing forgiveness for others. To err is human but to forgive is divine.
Answer me when I call You, O my righteous God. Give me relief from distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 4:1
May the blessing of God’s earth be with you, and as you walk the roads, may you always have a kind word for those you meet. An Irish Blessing
Contributed by Fr John Garry SPS