Being and Becoming a Merciful Servant
Mar 13, 2017
Welcome to the third week of Lent! I pray that all of us are deepening our Lenten tripod spirituality of prayer, fasting (abstinence) and almsgiving. The flourishing of these holy actions is to imitate and act like the Lord Jesus. Being a tripod, they complement and purify one another. Fasting and almsgiving are done within good conscience and proper motives by and through prayer; sincere prayer bears fruit in good works and attitudes.
Broadening almsgiving, we call it “works of mercy”. This call for Christians to mercy and charity is a frequent “dare” of the Gospels. Almsgiving, donating money or goods to the poor and performing acts of charity is “a witness to fraternal charity” and “a work of justice pleasing to God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 2462).
But almsgiving is only one of the works of mercy. The Lord Himself taught that we shall be judged according to our being merciful: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers [and sisters] of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). From this same Gospel passage we glean the following works of mercy:
Saint James (2:16-18) wrote: “One of you says … ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone may say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.”
How are you in your good works, in your being and becoming a servant? Here at St. Peter Claver, we have “Mercy Ministries” which do works of mercy all year round! This Lent (and perhaps, onwards) would you consider serving in one? We have the Misioneros para Cristo, the Apostle’s Kitchen, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Meal Angels, Restorative Justice, Respect Life and the Bereavement Ministry to name a few. This June, we shall have (again and always) Missions of Mercy which is our parish’s response to the challenge of Pope Francis to create monuments of mercy beyond last year’s Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. Bianca Langlois of Faith Formation Office facilitates the activity.
Our Lord of Mercy said to St. Faustina and us now:
“I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.
I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first — by deed, the second — by word, the third — by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy.
Many souls … are often worried because they do not have the material means with which to carry out an act of mercy. Yet spiritual mercy, which requires neither permissions nor storehouses, is much more meritorious and is within the grasp of every soul. If a soul does not exercise mercy somehow or other, it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment. Oh, if only souls knew how to gather eternal treasure for themselves, they would not be judged, for they would forestall My judgment with their mercy” (Diary no. 1317).
Coming to Mass is good but living the Mass “to serve rather than be served” is to purify and challenge ourselves to become holistic and deeper disciples who recognize and love Jesus in disguise.
To know more opportunities and information about “Mercy Ministries”, call the office and/or see/ask for the Parish Stewardship Directory.
And a special favor. I would like to ask you to offer a Hail Mary for me tomorrow, March 20th, my thirteenth anniversary of ordination as priest.
JESUS I TRUST IN YOU.