What is our Mission here on earth? We are called to grow in holiness and be more like Christ. The gospel reading today provides us clear examples of ways we can grow to be more Christlike. One of the first steps is seeking out Christ’s mercy and forgiveness.
In the first reading we are reminded of our sinfulness and that we are in need of God’s forgiveness in our lives. We all fall short but God is there ready to forgive us and pick us back up. “Look into my heart and see there the love and mercy I have for humankind, and especially for sinners. Look, and enter into My Passion” (Jesus to St. Faustina, Diary 1663). God is eagerly waiting for us to run to Him and seek out His forgiveness. He desires that reconciliation with us and others. His mercy and forgiveness never ends. He wants to wipe our heart clean from any sin and allow us to start fresh. The sacrament of reconciliation is a beautiful gift that we have to receive that forgiveness and an outpouring of His grace.
The Gospel reminds us that just as Christ has forgiven us and provided mercy on us we should do the same to others. Oh how easy it is to go about our days and get frustrated with various situations or people we encounter! Maybe it’s the guy who cut you off in traffic, or the cashier behind the counter who was a little short with you, or a co-worker who appeared to be slacking in their duties which caused you more work. Whatever it may be, we are constantly faced with opportunities to judge others, condemn others or hold resentment to others.
But Christ is telling us to stop. We never know the full situation or scenario. Instead of a negative comment, we could respond with a kind word to that person or instead of the negative thought, we could say a prayer for that person. The more we give of ourselves, the more we will be given and be blessed. What does this look like on a day-to-day basis? The works of mercy can be a helpful tool and can help guide us on our Christian walk.
The corporal works of mercy are to feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; clothe the naked; shelter the homeless; visit the sick; ransom the captive; and bury the dead. The spiritual works of mercy are to instruct the ignorant; counsel the doubtful; admonish sinners; bear wrongs patiently; forgive offences willingly; comfort the afflicted; and pray for the living and the dead. During this Lenten season let us reflect on the works of mercy and go out of your way to perform one of them or some other random act of kindness. It is through these simple acts that we are able to grow to be more Christlike.
God also has so many blessings and gifts He wants to bestow on us. The Gospel says, “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.” It is so easy for us to get so focused on what we have to do and sometimes forget all God has in His heart for us. Our God is a God of abundance. He wants to bless us in ways we can’t even fathom.
–Allison Seklecki is an occupational therapist living in Asheville, NC where she works in an inpatient rehabilitation hospital. She’s a member of the Young Adult Group at the Basilica of Lawrence in Asheville.