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 young, he was always in trouble. He couldn’t stay out of fights. He was convicted of assault and battery as well as using drugs. After doing a couple of prison terms, he 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 any risk the judge took proved imminently worthwhile. The man has turned his life around. He is married and raising a family. He owns a prosperous small business. He is also the youth minister of his parish. In today’s gospel Jesus recommends that his disciples show mercy as the wise judge in this story.
When Jesus says that his disciples should not judge, he does not mean that they put on rose-colored glasses. No, they are to distinguish right from wrong, but they are not to condemn others. Quite the opposite, they should be ready to forgive with any good reason. Jesus then promises that their mercy will be returned in good measure.
It is sometimes difficult to forgive because we see it as a betrayal of justice. Jesus would agree that mercy without justice leads to problems. But mercy tempers justice in that it allows those who have shown genuine remorse for their crimes to move on. If everyone were to give strict repayment make up strictly for every offense tallied, many persons’ development would be stifled. Worse yet, our society would become paralyzed.