MARCH 1. LENT. WK. 2. MON. LK. 6. 36-38.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.’
Today’s Gospel is all about giving or; - to be more precise, Loving; - loving God and loving Neighbour; - the way, and the means by which we let the mind be in us that was in Jesus Christ!
At its heart is a concern for the welfare of others; - which is certainly indicative of the mind of God? The primary obstacle to “doing it” however is the “love of self” that dwells within us!
Today’s first reading is relevant in that it points out the truth we repeatedly fail in our efforts to love others; - and how we are all dependent on God’s Mercy and Sanctifying Grace!
“O Lord, God great and to be feared, you keep the covenant and have kindness for those who love you and keep your commandments: we have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly, we have betrayed your commandments and your ordinances and turned away from them. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. Integrity, Lord, is yours; ours the look of shame we wear today, we, the people of Judah, the citizens of Jerusalem, the whole of Israel, near and far away, in every country to which you have dispersed us because of the treason we have committed against you. To us, Lord, the look of shame belongs, to our kings, our princes, our ancestors, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God mercy and pardon belong, because we have betrayed him, and have not listened to the voice of the Lord our God nor followed the laws he has given us through his prophets”. (Daniel 9. 4)
This teaching, of showing compassion and mercy to others, is such a basic, simple teachings that it is hard to understand why we have such difficulty “living it”?
The answer to that question however is also very easy to find, in that we are overly focused on caring, not for others, but for ourselves!
Closely related to this problem of self-love; - that prevents us from “living” this teaching; - is that, in trying to rectify the situation, we are inclined to place our trust in our own efforts!
And this is at the heart of “why” we are unable to overcome this inclination to care for ourselves; - we are sinners trying to overcome sin by way of our own human efforts!
The Prophet Daniel understood this error, which is why, speaking on behalf of God’s People, he confesses their sins; - “we have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly, we have betrayed your commandments and your ordinances, and turned away from them!”
What Daniel was able to “see” is, because we are sinners, we do not have the ability to master our sinful inclinations and desires; - and so he cries out for God’s compassion and forgiveness!
What we must learn from this reading is, to “live” Christ’s teachings, we first must fall on our knees, admit our sinfulness; - and trust not in ourselves; - but in God’s Mercy and Compassion.