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Saturday, March 1, 1997

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Micah 7:14-15, 18-20
Psalm 103
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

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just mercy?

"The Pharisees and the scribes murmured, 'This man welcomes sinners.' " —Luke 15:2

The prophet Micah marveled: "Who is there like You, the God Who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of His inheritance?" (Mi 7:18) Micah was impressed by God's unique, unparalleled, and unprecedented forgiveness. Others, however, are depressed and bewildered by God's forgiveness (see Jon 4:2-3).

Imagine if a person raped and murdered your daughter. Then the rapist-murderer gives his life to God, Who removes the killer's guilt and pardons his sin. The rapist doesn't feel guilty, but forgiven and unconditionally loved. If he died, he would be with the Lord that day in the paradise of heaven (see Lk 23:43). Nobody gives mercy to sinners like God does, and most people consider this to be unfair to the victims whose lives have been traumatized and destroyed by the sinners. This was partly the reason for the complaint of the older brother of the prodigal son (see Lk 15:30).

God's mercy is not unjust, because He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross to atone for all the sins that have been or will ever be committed. Because Jesus has justified us, He is free to have mercy on all those who accept His saving death of justification. God's mercy is compatible with His justice because of Calvary.

Prayer:  Jesus, You became the ultimate Victim. You took upon Yourself all the injustices ever committed. Pour out Your crucified mercy to cover all victims, and heal them by Your wounds (1 Pt 2:24). Lord Jesus, mercy!

Promise:  "We had to celebrate and rejoice! This brother of yours was dead, and has come back to life. He was lost, and is found." —Lk 15:32

Praise:  Matthew began meditating before a crucifix. Jesus softened his hard heart and gave him the Holy Spirit.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, August 1, 1996


Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 6, 1996