By Karen Sheehy
God’s Kindness, Mercy and Justice.
Two sides of the same coin.
What a difference a day makes. As I contemplate upon today’s readings, I find myself reinventing this old saying, “What a difference a decade makes.” Ten years back, as I think about my prayer life and faith journey, I recall my desperate, almost frantic intercessory prayers on behalf of my troubled tween and our little family of three. Asking for God to grant my wishes, I now see my inability to place these concerns in His loving and capable hands, and patiently await His response. Ten years later, as I marvel at the surprising deeds He has accomplished, I laugh at my spiritual immaturity. After all, who better than God to determine the necessary and preferred direction for our lives? Today’s readings skillfully reinforce this point.
In today’s first reading, we learn about God’s loving care and kindness. This divine care, however, is not simply leniency to all. No, it is the care of a loving Father, who is the source of both justice and mercy. To “those who know you, you rebuke. But though you are master of might, you judge with clemency” (Wisdom 12:17-18). We can learn a lot from these passages, for can a permissive parent be truly loving? Is not the role of a parent, or shepherd, to guide, protect, love and nurture? A shepherd’s rod is used not only to nudge, but also to correct both the steadfast and wayward lamb.
In today’s Gospel we encounter Christ who judges with clemency. In His discussion on the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus proclaims, “Let them (the weeds and the wheat) grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, ‘First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn’” (Matthew 13:29-30). Today, I proclaim to be the wheat and the weed, for in me, both find their spiritual expression. In this parable, each of us finds a choice and God’s gentle guidance. You see, to God, our faith “is like a mustard seed. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants” (Matthew 13:31-32). As a loving Father, God sees our goodness and full spiritual potential; therefore, He waits, guides and instructs each of us with gentle patience and kindness. He is the yeast “mixed with three measures of wheat flour” present in our hearts and souls until they are leavened (Matthew 13:33).
As we benefit from God’s loving kindness and guidance, we are called to do the same in His Kingdom. As our faith grows into the largest of shrubs, we are called to comfort and guide those who seek shelter in the Lord. As disciples, we are called to:
- Worship and glorify the name of God.
- Trust in His loving providence.
- Be merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and fidelity.
- Forgive others as we have been forgiven.
- Serve the Lord with all of our strength.
This is the irony of our faith journey. A faith journey which requires continual growth, maturation and ultimate dying to self in order to give life to others. This is Christian love, a love eloquently summarized when the Lord said, “the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Amen.
About the Author:
Karen Sheehy is a devout Catholic, wife and mother, motivational speaker, blogger and developer of spiritualsafariguide.com, your passport to a world of spiritual inspiration and understanding. To learn more about Karen Sheehy and her upcoming book entitled, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love, visit http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com