CATHOLIC HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK OF LENT
THEME: THE COMPASSIONATE GOD
BY: Rev. Fr. Utazi Prince Marie Benignus
HOMILY: Daniel 9: 4b-10; Psalm 79: 8, 9, 11 and 13; Luke 6: 36-38
I pray: May you continue to contemplate the graciousness of our God which should lead you to imitate God’s graciousness. AMEN
I have a fault. It is that I become upset when people tell me what to do. I guess part of the problem I have is that when others command me, I cannot be as gracious and kind as I would like to be. If they ask me politely, then I can graciously do what they want without sensing I am being ordered to do it. I feel even better when I see what another wants and responds to her/his need before even being asked. I can then go the extra steps of doing for the other.
God is even more gracious, especially when we do not make demands of God. Yes, we should lift up our concerns and needs to the Lord Jesus, but not in a way which makes God into a divine vending machine which has to give us what we demand. God is abundantly more gracious than we can ever deserve or expect, yet we should not presume on God’s graciousness and demand the Lord Jesus to favor us because we have put in our demands.
We are sinful; we need to ask God to forgive us as the prayer of Daniel demonstrates. Today’s First Reading reminds us that we are sinners and we need God’s mercy. It is a beautiful prayer for each of us as individuals, and as members of a community of faith, and as part of the human race. It begins by acknowledging Who God is: “Great and awesome God, You Who keep Your merciful covenant toward those who love You. . .” The prayer of Daniel continues by including a section of contrition in which it says that we have not done what God has expected of us. It calls upon God to be compassionate and forgiving.
We need to realize, as the psalmist mentions, that if God treated us in the way we should be treated, then we would be in a real “hell” of a mess. How true that is. If God dealt with us as our sins deserve, none of us would have a chance.
In the Gospel, Jesus reminds us that we should extend the forgiveness and pardon to others as a sign of our awareness of how loving and forgiving God is to us when we seek pardon for our sins. Jesus teaches that we must strive to be compassionate as God is compassionate. The more we imitate the God who is our Father, by being non-judgmental, non-condemning, extending pardon, and giving, then the more we will be treated that way by our God. I am reminded of a parent who says to an unforgiving child, “How would you like it if I treated you the way you are treating your brother?”
Dear Sisters and Brother, we have done what is wrong. But, our ever gracious God is willing to forgive us and not treat us as our actions deserve. Instead, God is willing to give to us abundantly. In return we need to extend the same non-judgmental, non-condemning, and gracious forgiveness to others. Yes, as I think how awesomely compassionate God is to me, a sinner, I am moved to be more caring and generous with those who have offended me or with those who ask me for something. I should give more than 100% of what people ask of me, not just forgiveness but in all items for which they ask. That is the way our gracious and awesome God has been toward me. I should want to be loving and caring towards other because I have experienced the love and care that God has for me.
In a sense the Golden Rule for me is not “Do unto others the way you would want to be treated by others,” but “Do unto others the way God has already done to you.”
MEDITATION How often do I express my appreciation to God for the gift of forgiveness which the Lord Jesus extends to me and which came about through His death and resurrection? How willing am I to extend the same compassion and forgiveness to other, especially those who have most offended me? What can I do today to demonstrate my understanding of the love and mercy of our awesome God as I deal with those whom I encounter?
PRAYER Lord God, through Your Goodness, You extend to us Your compassion and mercy. We have turned away from You and missed the mark of following You and Your Son. We do not deserve the forgiveness that You are willing to extend to us. May we be ever more conscious of the abundance of Your kindness and be willing to share with others so they too may become aware of Your generosity and love. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, helps us to get back on target and keep our sights on You and Your Son, Jesus who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
O DIVINE WORD WHO TOOK FLESH FOR HUMAN SAKE, REDEEM US IN OUR SITUATIONS
©️ Rev. Fr. Utazi Prince Marie Benignus