god desires mercy
"It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice." —Matthew 9:13
"God is rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4). He delights "in showing mercy" (Mi 7:18, JB). "His mercy endures forever" (Ps 136:1). God desires mercy (Mt 9:13).
Fr. Lauer, founder and long-time author of One Bread, One Body, defined mercy as treating someone better than they deserve. To treat someone as they deserve is to give them their due. This is a fair and just price to pay, and even "sinners do as much" (Lk 6:33).
At a higher level than paying someone their due is to sacrifice for someone. This involves paying a higher cost to serve someone, going above and beyond the minimum. Sacrifices come at a personal cost. They require time, energy, love, and forethought. "God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind" (Heb 13:16).
However, ultimately it is not sacrifice that God desires; His heart is set upon mercy (Mt 9:13). Jesus' disciples are set apart by treating others better than they deserve, including enemies, persecutors, criminals, sinners, etc. Jesus' disciples are impelled by love (see 2 Cor 5:14) to imitate their Master by laying down their lives for people who don't even care about them (see Rm 5:8), regardless of whether or not that mercy is even appreciated. "This will prove that you are" children of God (Mt 5:45), rich in mercy (Eph 2:4). This is what God desires.
Prayer: Jesus, Mercy of God, I trust in You. Give me a heart that always seeks to act in mercy.
Promise: Abraham "never questioned or doubted God's promise; rather, he was strengthened in faith and gave glory to God, fully persuaded that God could do whatever He had promised." —Rm 4:20-21
Praise: Praise Jesus, the perfect Reflection of the Father (Heb 1:3), Who is "rich in mercy."
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 4, 2008
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