Lenten Daily Reflection
Monday, March 18, 2nd week of Lent
Meditation on Luke 6:36-28
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36)
A young veterinarian was visiting a farm out in the country. He tried out a new treatment on a cow, and to his horror, the cow died a few days later. The farmer could have sued hum and ruined his reputation in the farming community, but he didn't. He never even brought it up again. The young vet was so struck by his behavior that throughout his life, whenever someone wronged him, he thought back to his experience with the farmer and tried to follow his example of forgiveness.
In a way, today's Gospel is like this story. Of all the words Jesus could have chosen to describe his heavenly Father, He chose "merciful" (Luke 6:36). More than his justice, more than his power, more than his wisdom, Jesus made clear that he is a God of forgiveness and compassion - and he tells us to have that same attitude toward one another.
The disciples may have known this mercy historically, from their Scriptures, but Jesus didn't want them to stop there, just as he doesn't want us to stop there, just as he doesn't want us to stop. He wants us to experience his Father's mercy personally and, even more, to allow this mercy to move us to share that mercy with the people around us. Instead of finding faults in the people around us, he wants us to love and honor them. Rather than holding onto offenses, he encourages us to forgive.
Jesus knows that merely telling us about God's mercy wouldn't be enough. He had to model it as well. So he tells his disciples, "Stop judging and you will not be judged" (Luke 6:37), and then demonstrates it by eating dinner at the home of the "unclean" tax collector Levi (5:27-32). "Stop condemning and you will not be condemned," he says (6:37). Then he tells a woman caught in adultery, "Neither do I condemn you" (John 8:11).
Finally, in his greatest object lesson, Jesus fulfilled his call to mercy in the most dramatic way possible. Hanging on the cross in agony, he humbly prayed, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).
What a merciful God we have! Just like that farmer, he forgives, he forgets, and he blesses. Every time.
"Father, show me your mercy today that I might show it to everyone around me."
Spend some quiet time with the Lord!