Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday of the Second Week of Lent

(Daniel 9:4b-10; Luke 6:36-38)

The man gives God thanks every day.  When he was a youth, he was always in trouble.  He couldn’t stay out of fights.  He was convicted of assault and battery as well as using drugs.  He did a couple of prison terms and was facing a thirty-five year sentence.  Then he was shown mercy.  He credits God, but certainly a judge had something to do with his being given another chance.  In this case the risk proved imminently worthwhile.  The man has turned his life around, married and is raising a family, has a small prosperous business, and is giving back to God as a youth minister.  Jesus recommends such mercy in today’s gospel.

When Jesus says that his disciples should not judge, he does not mean that they wear rose-colored glasses.  No, they are to determine right from wrong, but they are not to condemn others unduly.  Quite the opposite, they should be ready to forgive for any good reason.   Jesus then promises that their mercy will be rewarded not just in kind but with greater abundance.

It is sometimes difficult to forgive because we see it as a betrayal of justice.  Jesus would certainly agree that mercy without justice leads to dissolution just as strictness without justice can end in despotism.  As responsible people, we must promote and model righteous living.  We do that by forgiving whenever we sense a reasonable possibility for reform and renewal.