“Deserves it! I daresay he does.
Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life.
Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment.
For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
(Original painting of the Divine Mercy, by Eugeniusz Kazimirowski in 1934)
It’s the end of another year as well as the end of another decade…
A time when we grow full of reflection and even introspection.
And if we don’t, well, I think it would behoove us to do so…
it’s good for the soul.
And by the way, I can say that because I’m now on the downhill slope of what is
considered to be US life expectancy, and thus—
older people are supposed to have gleaned from hindsight…
so my hindsight is saying that you need to reflect.
The other day I had offered my hope that the coming year could be a year
for moms and motherhood along with their children and husbands…
as in the fathers of their children…as in families…traditional families
as in those families found within the covenant of God the Father.
And no, this post is not about a debate regarding what constitutes a “family”–
that’s a discussion for another day.
But for now, let’s hear it for moms.
Be they working or stay at home….
because at the end of the day…
the bottom line is that a mom is still a mom…
and that is the single most important job.
And so this notion has gotten me thinking.
Thinking and pondering.
I’ve started a new book…in part because I saw that Bishop Gavin Ashenden had
written the forward to the book.
Oh and just in case you missed it, our favorite across the pond Anglican cleric
is now a new Catholic convert.
The book is The Warning by Christine Watkins
“Authentic accounts of saints and mystics of the Church who have spoken of a day when
we will all see our souls in the light of truth,
and fascinating stories of those who have already experienced it for themselves.”
As I was reading my few pages last night, as that is about all the reading I’m afforded
these days–a page here or there at night, Ms. Watkins mused about death—
something that we will all eventually face.
Whether we are a believer or not, death does not discriminate.
So she posed a question about what happens upon death—our death.
It’s the age-old mystery…death and what happens to us at that defining moment.
For Believers, this is a time of accountability.
As in all sins, all those things done and not done will be set before us.
Even those sins we have confessed and asked forgiveness over will
still, be displayed.
That notion made me swallow hard.
Even though there is and has been forgiveness, our sins will still be on display.
Both known and unknown.
Displayed before us and our Savior, Father and Holy Spirit.
How do you defend such?
How do you explain such?
How do you play off such?
Because isn’t that what we currently do in life? We make excuses.
So why not in death?
But here’s the thing, we won’t be able to nor can we.
The moment will be beyond earthly comprehension
and somehow I think to stand before God, will leave us without defense.
We will be totally exposed, opened like a splayed chicken and utterly vulnerable.
And on that thought, I closed the book, turned off the light and laid there thinking…
A key word came to mind…
According to Merriam Webster ‘mercy’ is defined as compassion or forgiveness shown
toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
God has shown His mercy to man—both you and me, by sending His only son…
offering mercy to a corrupt and sinful humankind.
Grace has been given to those who do not deserve Grace but who have been offered it freely
and without attached strings.
And so I would like to see this to be a year for all of us to put mercy atop our list.
To show and to offer mercy to our fellow human beings, despite whether they deserve it or not
because deserving is not the issue.
It will not be easy.
It will demand us to stop and think before quickly casting our hate-filled
angry filled resentment and judgment.
We are such a divided nation, so full of the notion of ‘I am right and you are wrong’
that we allow our national convictions to outweigh the human act of Compassion, Grace and
We have become so knee jerk in our reactions that the thought of Mercy never crosses
In the turning of the calendar, in the moving into a new year,
may we be mindful of the gift we have each been given…
that being the gift, the ability, to offer to others our compassion, our grace,
and our mercy only because God first offered His Compassion, Grace, and Mercy to us.
In 2015 Pope Francis proclaimed that the year of the Jubilee of Mercy,
The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (Latin: Iubilaeum Extraordinarium Misericordiae)
was a Roman Catholic period of prayer held from 8 December 2015,
the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, to 20 November 2016,
the Feast of Christ the King.
Like previous jubilees, it was seen by the Church as a period for remission of sins
and universal pardon focusing particularly on God’s forgiveness and mercy.
It was an extraordinary Jubilee because it had not been predetermined long before;
ordinary jubilees are usually celebrated every 25 years.
I think we need to offer such jubilee one more time!
I think we too are the people who, on the one hand, want to listen to Jesus,
but on the other hand, at times, like to find a stick to beat others with,
to condemn others. And Jesus has this message for us: mercy. I think –
and I say it with humility – that this is the Lord’s most powerful message: mercy.
Homily on March 17, 2013