Today we commemorate two incredible gifts. Jesus gave us the Eucharist and then gave himself up for each and every one of us.
Thank you, Lord.
I pray for the courage to stand beside Christ and not to run away like I always want to do.
In today’s Lenten Moment of Mercy part of the citation from Pope Francis has him telling the children and young people of Turin (21 June 2015), “And being two-faced is common currency today: saying something and doing another. Hypocrisy.”
His simple statement leads me to instantly feel overwhelmed with guilt because I know that I am a hypocrite.
But as I sit and try to deal with the feeling, I am also reminded of last week’s Sunday gospel where Jesus tells the woman “taken in adultery” that he, too, will not condemn her and I take comfort that God’s mercy is so overwhelming that I can rely on it. Am I simply letting myself off the hook? Undoubtedly. But I do truly believe that God will work with whatever shreds of integrity I have to redeem me.
I don’t know what else to say.
The title for today’s Lenten Moment of Mercy is: During the penitential season of Lent, let us recognize the true face of Jesus Christ.
I believe it was Anais Nin who wrote, “We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.” This is certainly true for me when it comes to Jesus Christ and Christianity. I always joke with my community members that I love the Baby Jesus because he is non-threatening, but I’m not so fond of the adult Jesus. As with many “jokes,” however, they may be hiding the truth in plain sight.
Jesus leads us to the glory of the Resurrection and the marvel of eternal life with God, but that path inevitably involves passion and death. I have to learn not to avoid the tough, often tedious and immensely difficult task of stripping myself of my illusions and turning with open hands to the Lord in order to follow him in simplicity and truth.
I know myself too well. I am not capable of mighty strides, only tiny steps. But I’m willing to keep on moving towards my God.
Let us pray in this season of Lent that we will become more capable of recognizing the true face of Jesus Christ.
The Scripture proposed in today’s Lenten Moment of Mercy is from Deuteronomy 4:9:
But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children.
Each of us, I suspect, has seen things which have delighted us so deeply that we can still picture the events, have witnessed moments so moving that our hearts are permanently marked by them, and have looked at other things so sad or terrible that we are never able to forget them.
I recall a little moment of mercy from long ago. When I was about 16, my sister and I were shopping in London. She spotted a homeless person whose bag had split beyond repair. She immediately went to her car, dumped everything from her own bag onto the back seat, and gave it to the homeless person. Hardly worth mentioning it, really. Except that I never forgot that simple act of kindness and it started me thinking about how I could help others and that eventually led me to the Jesuits. Our smallest actions sometimes speak loudly to others.
Let’s take some time to savor the great and glorious things we’ve experienced and let’s also determine to do our best so that others might be able to avoid some of the terrible things we have had to witness.