Monday, March 11, 2019
Today, in Mercy, the voice of the Lord, in both Leviticus and Matthew, makes one thing abundantly clear: God lives in the “least ones”, and this is where we must love and serve God.
In our first reading, God tells the people to be holy – not by offering God sacrifice and praise, but like this:
- Don’t steal.
- Don’t lie.
- Don’t make an empty vow.
- Don’t cheat.
- Don’t hurt those already hurting.
- Don’t make false judgments.
- Don’t be prejudiced.
- Don’t do nasty gossip.
- Don’t ignore your neighbor’s need.
- Don’t hate, take revenge on, or begrudge others.
In other words,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD.
We are so accustomed to this passage that we may miss how startling it is! God asks nothing of us for himself! God asks only that we love God through our neighbor.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus reiterates this command in the form of positive actions, adding how we will be judged by it. Jesus says:
- Feed the hungry.
- Hydrate the thirsty.
- Welcome the stranger.
- Clothe the naked.
- Care for the sick.
- Visit the imprisoned.
We are called to these works of mercy on many levels. Certainly the call is first to the physically suffering – the homeless, the refugee, the uncared for, the abused.
But we also know from our own experience that there are all kinds of hungers and thirsts in the human heart. There is a loneliness that persists even in a crowd. There is naked fear, depression and isolation even among those otherwise warmly dressed. There are sicknesses that come from selfishness and others that come from abandonment. There are prisons without bars.
We do not have to look far to find the “least ones” whom God wishes us to love and serve.
We do not have to look far to find God. We just have to look deep.
Music: The Circle of Mercy – Jeannette Goglia, RSM