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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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St. Ignatius of Antioch

Romans 1:16-25
Psalm 19:2-5
Luke 11:37-41

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ashamed of mercy?

"I am not ashamed of the gospel." —Romans 1:16

I wonder if deep down we don't proclaim the Good News more fervently because we are embarrassed that the guilty receive unmerited mercy. The rapist, terrorist, abortionist, murderer, and other wrongdoers confess their sins (Ps 32:5), repent and sin no more (Jn 8:11), accept and live their Baptism, and their sins are simply forgiven. They receive eternal life in heaven (see Lk 23:42-43). They seem to not receive the punishment due to their sins. "There is no condemnation now for those who are in Jesus Christ" (Rm 8:1). To law-abiding citizens, this can look unfair.

Our secular society demands justice and punishment. Simply browse the comments in any social media outlet when a grave act of injustice occurs. Victims cry out for healing and restitution. Lawyers press for damages, and then some. Bystanders scream for punishment, even before a criminal trial.

The gospel of Christ (Rm 1:16) proclaims that Jesus is our Justice (1 Cor 1:30). Accordingly, He handles all the demands of justice for all parties. The gospel also proclaims that "God is rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4), and that God repays any damages that have occurred (see Jl 2:25). Jesus receives the punishment in place of sinners and pours out mercy on both sinner and victim.

Instead of taking on Jesus' job of figuring out punishments and restorations, our role is to fall on our knees before Jesus and beg for mercy and justice. Humanity is unable to do the job which belongs properly to the Lord, for His ways are far beyond our ways (Is 55:8-9). The conflicting demands of mercy and justice are no problem for Jesus, Who is Mercy and Justice incarnate.

Prayer:  Father, remove from my heart and mind any embarrassment that might exist about Your lavish mercy toward sinners.

Promise:  "If you give what you have as alms, all will be wiped clean for you." —Lk 11:41

Praise:  St. Ignatius worked for Christian unity by proclaiming the Eucharist.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 12, 2017

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