Evensong for Peace

1/25/05
-- by Dorothy Guettler, OP

Reading

Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him.

And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples.

When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"

But when he heard this, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.

Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."

Reflection

MERCY.

The name of God that is most powerful, that summons God to our aid, and that reveals the depth of a glimpse of what God might truly be is the name of Mercy.

When Jesus calls the tax collector Matthew to be one of his own followers and Matthew throws a party for Jesus to meet his friends, Jesus is slandered and criticized for associating with scum, those who are irreligious. We know how Jesus responded from the Scripture that was just read. "Go and find out what this means: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice."

Mercy is often translated as steadfast love or tenderness, and is always linked to forgiveness: the forgiveness of God toward all of us and the forgiveness we are to extend to others, all others because of God's mercy.

More than four-fifths of the Psalms speak of God's mercies and how God does mercy, gives mercy, showers mercy, and pleads for mercy among his people. Many Psalms place mercy with truth. Is it that if we know a little more of the truth we will be able to show mercy and receive mercy?

Mercy is also love that is given to all, beyond all reason, over and over again. Mercy is sweet, unexpected, hardly to be believed, shocking, freeing, given when there is no hope. It is always undeserved, overflowing and sometimes embarrassing. There is no way to repay mercy and the only response can be that of gratitude.

Mercy is the presence of God among us, in the poor, those who suffer at the hands of others, and those who stand up for and stand with those who are forgotten.

Mercy, like God's and like those who imitate God is usually hidden, secret, outrageous, nonviolent and intent on transforming the world by grace, freedom, and truth.

Mercy is God's hope and prayer for us. Paul often begins or ends his letters with the blessing: "May grace, mercy and peace be with you from God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord."

If only we knew that it is only by giving mercy that it becomes more visible in our own lives. Mercy is the gift given again and again to us. Oh, if only we could learn how to return the favor of such mercy! What a place this world would be!

May you know God's mercy.
May you show God's mercy.

Reference: Send My Roots Rain
Megan McKenna