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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mercy not Sacrifice

"I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned these innocent men." Mt 12:7

Mercy is a constant theme for Jesus. Always concerned that the poor, who often thought of themselves as unworthy of God's love, would to be afraid of God or fear they were being punished for their sins, Jesus reminds them that his Father's love was not a gift for the successful but for the faithful. No longer should anyone think their worth was determined by their status in the community. God wants to be close to all people and when the Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up by condemning his disciples for working on the Sabbath, he pushes back hard.

Jesus reminds the leaders of the Jewish community and us that mercy towards the lowly is the path we must take if we wish to know God's desire for us. In the 11th chapter of the prophet Hosea we read:

“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
 But the more they were called,
the more they went away from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals
and they burned incense to images.
 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
it was I who healed them.
 I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them. (1-4)

If God bends down to feed us, must we not do the same to those who are hungry for mercy?

Today, offer a hand of mercy to someone who expects rejection.

How do you understand God's mercy?




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