As you know and as you’ll be hearing over and over, the message of God’s Mercy for all people is the focus for the Catholic Church this year. I hope that by December of next year you and I will be better able to understand and then explain to others just what Christian Mercy is all about.
More important than explaining it however is DOING it. Giving Mercy to everyone. Here’s a little story I heard on my visit to Sacred Heart Cathedral last month. The deacon there, John Giugno, told this in a homily. I think it holds the “motive” for giving someone mercy – – – it’s not because we earn or merit it. It’s because of the value God gives to each of us as His Children. See what you think.
Next, the speaker proceeded to crumple the $20 bill and then asked who still wanted it; still, all the hands were in the air. “Well,” he replied, “what if I do this?” And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, all crumpled and torn and dirty. “Now, who still wants it?” And they all raised their hands.
So what’s the lesson? Dirty or torn, wet and wrinkled, the bill does not decrease in value. It’s not just a piece of paper. It’s a $20 dollar bill!
And so what about people? Many times we’re dropped, crumpled, torn, and ground (or wallow) in the dirt. The dumb decisions we make or the circumstances that make life messy can make us feel like terrible persons, (sometimes even deservedly so).
We feel as though we are worthless. But, (and here’s the point), no matter what happens, or what will happen, we will never lose our value in the eyes of God. To God, dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, we are still priceless to God. . . . That is the face of God’s mercy.
I like this story for lots of reasons. It’s a happy story. What makes it happy is what it says about God. God, of His own free will, “lets us” be called His “Children” 1 Jn. 3:1. Any parent knows that their son or daughter, no matter what they do, no matter how bad their choices in life, NEVER stop being their beloved child. So it is with God (see Romans 5:6-10 It’s amazing!!). As the kids say, “God is good . . . . All the time”.
Okay, so we’re dirty little $20 bills that don’t lose their value no matter what we do. So what do we do with that?
A couple of things I think. 1. Knowing that we are so loved by God . . . don’t you want to love Him back? To live right lives? To give instead of take? 2. Don’t you feel that if that’s how God loves ME . . . I should love my NEIGHBOR because of the love of God?
It’s all pretty wonderful. Really. Fr. Tim
PS. That winter schedule I put in the bulletin a couple weeks ago has been changed. Sr. Pat’s “Catholics are Fun(ny)” gathering has been rescheduled for after Easter. Some other adjustments have been made as well, so a new order of events will be out soon.
PPS. I’m in Florida with my sisters. I’ll be thinking of you – – – by the pool!!
“We constantly need to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends upon it.”
(Pope Francis, MV.2)