Monday of the Second Week in Lent
Here we are in the second week of Lent. Ash Wednesday called us to metanoia – a conversion of heart. With a cross of ashes we were exhorted to: “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.” And, of course, we promised Lenten sacrifices intending to achieve that goal. We know that we will fall short of our best intentions and promises. We always do. That’s when we ask God for mercy. The Psalm response pleads: “Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins” (Psalm 79).
Our own acts of contrition echo Daniel’s words in our first reading: “God, you keep your merciful covenant toward those who love you and keep your commandments! We have sinned, been wicked and done evil and are shamefaced. But yours, O Lord, are compassion and forgiveness!” (Daniel 9: 4-9).
How can we ever achieve that conversion of heart and truly turn away from sin? Luke gives us the prescription for our repentance: “Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge… Do not condemn… Pardon… Give… For the measure you measure with will be measured back to you” (Luke 6: 36-38).
These verses follow Luke’s account of The Beatitudes and Jesus’ commandment to “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” These things are not easy to do. If they were, there would be no reason for repentance, for compassion, for forgiveness. Yet, we are what we choose. When we decide to be compassionate, to pardon and to give of ourselves and our resources, we become the people God created us to be. When we extend mercy to one another, we need not be ashamed to seek mercy for ourselves.
Even when we fail to live up to our own best intentions and God’s expectations of us, may we never forget just how much God loves us, enough to grant us the infinite grace of reconciliation and forgiveness in the Passion of Jesus!
- Patricia Muehlbauer