Micah 7:14-15, 18-20
In today’s liturgy the Church introduces us to the prophet Micah who lived about 2,750 years ago. His name in Hebrew means "Who is like God?" True to his name he asks: "Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in mercy." (Micah 7:18)
We must all live on the edge of God’s mercy. We must not be afraid to jump into the abyss of His kindness. There is a great democracy among all of us. We all exist on the margins of God’s mercy. In the movie Schindler’s List, Oskar, the protagonist, at the end of the movie instead of feeling good about saving 1,200 lives was filled with guilt for not doing more. "I could have saved more." Even the great saints did not wear their medals in God’s service like famous soldiers as Patton, but rather saw themselves as "vessels of His mercy." (Romans 9:23) Our ultimate claim to glory is that God has shown me mercy to which I had no claim! Paul said it well: "For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." (Romans 9:15) God’s mercy is our ultimate reality! This is true not just because we have sinned and need forgiveness, but our very existence is an effect of His mercy.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." (James 1:17) To remain in God’s mercy it is terribly important that we share this generosity with one another. "With the merciful you show yourself merciful." (Psalm 18:25) If, as Micah says, "he delights in mercy", we must imitate Our Lord Jesus who said: "And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?" (Matthew 18:33) These words alone can frame our whole spiritual life. We are humbly grateful for God’s kindness to us and let us make sure we have the same mercy to each other if we hope to hang on to God’s generosity! "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy." (Matthew 5:7)
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.