HOMILY for Monday, 2nd Week of Lent
Originally posted on Godzdogz in 2011.
“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful”. And just how is the Father merciful and compassionate towards us? Through the Cross. In the sign of Christ Crucified, we see, and we experience God’s mercy. For Christ is the good measure of God’s generous, superabundant, self-giving love, and God’s tender mercy. And it is Jesus who was unjustly judged by Pilate, and condemned by the people. He endured the judgment of the kangaroo court, and the condemnation of the mob with patience, humility, and courage. Even when Jesus was ‘pressed down’ under the immense pressure of Man’s sin and injustice, he endured in silence. As Isaiah said: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth (Isa 53:7). And when the Lord did open his mouth, it was not to judge or condemn the world, but to say: “Father, forgive them”.
So, Jesus, crucified and dying for us, is the sign of God’s mercy and forgiveness, a sign of his generous and sacrificial love. “And by his wounds we have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Each day, our own sins, and the sins of the world injures us. It’s understandable when we’re hurt or treated badly to react with anger, indignation, or even hatred. It’s tempting to judge and condemn those who trespass against us, and we might well find ways to justify this, and nurse the grunge, and find it hard to forgive. But none of this heals our wounds. Only the Cross, and the wounds of the Crucified One heals us of what sin inflicts on us.
But the Cross is not just the sign of God’s mercy. In the hour of his Passion, Jesus said: “Now is the judgment of this world” (Jn 12:31). So, Christ Crucified is also the Father’s judgment on the world. God’s love and mercy, which Jesus embodies on the Cross, shows up the futility and weakness of Man’s judgments and condemnations, the nonsense of our violence, hatred, and sin. Jesus shows us that Love “is strong as death” (Song of Songs 8:6) and conquers evil. This is our hope, and this same victory is ours if we enter into the mystery of his Cross, and let it be en-acted in our own lives. For our faith is not a series of propositions, or data that we collect, or nice words that we speak. Rather, God’s word is incarnate in the man, Jesus Christ, and it is also to be made flesh in you and me, who have been called in baptism to take up our cross each day, and respond to the world’s injustices with love and mercy. Which is why we’re called ‘little Christs’, Christians.
Our Lenten journey consists in entering into the mystery of the Cross, which is the measure of how we’re to love, and the task seems immense, because it is. But it is not impossible. For God provides both the measure and the means. If we give ourselves to God, then he gives us his transforming grace, in a super-abundant generosity that exceeds human understanding and equips us for the task. A “good measure… will be put into our lap”, we’re told. Isn’t that the case today when in the Eucharist, a good measure of the finest wheat, Christ himself - the grace, mercy and love of God - is placed into the lap of our hands, and given to us? Is it not here, from Him, that we taste God’s goodness, and learn to be merciful as our Father is merciful?
- lawrenceop posted this