If you want Mercy…then Show Mercy

010116-year-of-mercy-main-image

We often read about mercy in the Gospels.  Everyone talks about the need to show mercy.  Pope Francis even declared a year of mercy.  I don’t think anyone would disagree that the world could use a lot more of it.  At the same time, most people would admit that showing mercy can be very difficult.  Especially if someone has wronged us or our families in some way.  It takes a lot of humility sometimes to push aside our anger to show someone mercy.  When we do, the fruits of our labor are pretty amazing.  I wanted to share an experience I had just yesterday.  I received an email at work.  The email was from someone admitting to me that they had made a mistake.  Unfortunately, it was one of those mistakes that was going to cause other people to potentially get very angry. There was a good chance that I would be the person dealing with the fall out of the situation.  As you can imagine, I was not happy.  After a couple of email exchanges, I decided to call the person.  I would have had every right to yell at this person.  If I had, I might have been applauded for doing a good job.  I knew the person on the other end of the phone was nice.  I knew the mistake was an accident.  At the same time, I was still frustrated.  When they answered the phone, I could hear that they were struggling with the situation.  They made no effort to defend themselves.  As the conversation continued, I found myself wanting to have mercy on them knowing that it might lead to criticism from my employer. This person made a comment about how overworked they were. Something I think we can all relate to.  By the end of the call, they thanked me for showing them mercy.  I then took it one step further and asked them “Are you a religious person?”.  They responded with “Yes, and getting more so all the time”.  My response, “Me too”.  I then told them that I would put them in my daily prayers.  Again, they were thankful.  The call then ended.  I am not trying to pat myself on the back.  I am simply trying to point out how showing mercy can open so many great doors like evangelization and friendship.  Maybe this person will show mercy to someone else when the opportunity arises.  Friends, our world is filled with anger. People stepping on each other to get ahead or make a buck.  Look at our political situation.  It is a complete nightmare. You can’t turn on the news without hearing about violence. We are a country divided.  I can’t say that I have any answers.  Jesus talks about love and mercy quite a bit.  Seems like a great place to start.

The Crucifixion vs The Resurrection

I had this revelation recently.  I felt compelled to share.  As the title indicates, it has to do with the Crucifixion vs. the Resurrection.  So many of our protestant brothers and sisters focus on the Resurrection.  There is nothing wrong with that.  I am not writing this to start an argument.  There is great joy in the Resurrection.  I cannot disagree. I feel like so many people wonder why we as Catholics focus on the Crucifixion.  For many it is hard to focus on because there is so much pain and difficulty surrounding it.  Granted, it is much easier to focus on the Resurrection as it brings so much joy and happiness.  Here is my question for you.  Can you truly experience the Resurrection without first experiencing the Crucifixion?  I say, no.  I guess you can sort of experience the Resurrection by itself but you cannot grasp the full magnitude of it’s meaning without first going through the pain and struggle of the Crucifixion.  Put yourself in the shoes of the Apostles.  At the time of Jesus death, they were really struggling. Most of them had abandoned Jesus because of fear.  Their Messiah had just been murdered on the cross.  They had been following him for three years. Hanging on to his every word.  Even though Jesus had warned them that the day was coming when the Son of Man would be turned over to the authorities, I don’t think they actually believed him until it actually happened. Now they were trying to deal with his death along with their shame for having abandoned him.  To say that they were in a dark place was probably a rather large understatement.  Now imagine the moment when someone comes rushing through the door shouting “He is Risen!”.   Now that is true joy.  The only current day example I can think of would be to compare to hearing that a very close loved one had passed.  Someone who had been a great mentor to you.  Trying wrestle with the pain and the questions of “why?”.  Then to find out that it was a mistake and they were actually alive.  The joy you would feel would be incredible.  But to feel that joy, you have to first experience the pain and difficulty.  So again, I pose the question, can you get the fullness of the Resurrection without first truly experiencing the Crucifixion? I say, no.  What do you say?

Respecting our Priests

I was having a recent conversation with a friend that belongs to a different parish.  They were telling me how people were getting cross ways with their new priest. Evidently the new priest came in to the parish and started making changes.  Of course a few people didn’t like it. This isn’t the first time I have heard this type of thing.  It just really gets to me.  I was not raised Catholic.  I am one of those converts.  Even as a young non-Catholic man I had a certain degree of respect for priests.  Simply because they were a man of the cloth.  I didn’t even consider myself very “religious”.  I used to secretly make fun of the “Jesus freaks”.  Now I am proud to call myself a “Jesus freak”.  This disrespect towards priests is something I really struggle with.  From my understanding some of these people who are mad were threatening to leave their parish.  This is nothing more than a pride issue. It is evil using pride to twist us backwards.  I started to get upset but then had to take a step back because I have done the same type of thing.  We just need to realize that when we start to feel this way, it is evil trying to get in the way.  People need to remember that every priest has their own style.  They will never see things exactly as the prior priest.  Parishioners are going to have to suffer through “growing pains” while the new priest implements his style into the parish.  Not to mention most parishes have several thousand families.  How can the priest possibly please everyone?  He can’t.  That is why we as parishioners have to adjust to him.  It is a time to practice obedience.  Obedience to Jesus Christ means obedience to our Church, our Pope, Bishops and priests. Sometimes it means being obedient to people we struggle with or maybe even our spouses (ouch). You can’t say you are obedient to Jesus and then get in the face of your priest and threaten to leave. It doesn’t make any sense.  Priests are supposed to be our shepherds and our leaders.  It is tough to be a leader when parishioners are telling what you are doing wrong and how they think you should do it.

I say all this but I struggle as much as anyone and make mistakes daily.  I am just trying to say, let’s support our priests.  The same argument can be made for pastors of other denominations.  Men of the cloth should be respected for dedicating their life to God.

Reconciliation

I just wanted to comment on the discussion questions for this week. Let’s just say that I have broken almost every one of them. Most of them daily/hourly/minute by minute. I have had moments where I stepped out of the confessional and my mind was already going places it shouldn’t. I have wanted to turn around and sit back down in the confessional. Lust is probably the toughest for most of us guys. Not so easy when temptation is around every corner, on every tv screen and is in almost every book/magazine/web page you view. I have prayed on this often. Prayer works wonders. I am convinced that God has a sense of humor but he is definitely helping me.
Just Morgan (April 2015)

Gospel Reading

I just wanted to comment on the Gospel reading today. I loved how well the first reading and Gospel worked together. The story of the man who wanted to be healed from leprosy. What really struck me was that Jesus was first moved with pity then he reached out his hand and healed him. I love this because we get to see the fully human side of Jesus as well as the fully divine side. Pretty awesome stuff.

Peace brothers

Just Morgan (Feb 2015)