< <  

Friday, January 17, 1997

  > >

St. Anthony

Hebrews 4:1-5, 11
Psalm 78
Mark 2:1-12

View Readings
Similar Reflections

is it unjust to be forgiven?

"The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." —Mark 2:10

God is just, and the world He created is just, although it does not appear to be just at every moment. However, eventually God "will repay every man for what he has done" (Rm 2:6).

God is merciful. He treats us much better than we deserve. He is more than fair, better than just. God is not limited to being just, for His "mercy triumphs over judgment" (Jas 2:13).

Is God's being better than just unjust? Is it contradictory to be both just and merciful? The question in life is not so much: "Why do bad things happen to good people?", but "Why do good things happen to bad people?" God's mercy is more mysterious and therefore more problematic than His justice.

The Lord can be merciful without ignoring justice because He is "our Justice" (1 Cor 1:30). By dying on the cross in our place, Jesus fulfilled "the just demands of the law" (Rm 8:4). By fulfilling justice, He is free to move beyond justice — to mercy. Therefore, when Jesus forgave the paralytic's sin and claimed the authority to forgive sins, He was claiming to be God, our Justice, and even crucified Mercy.

Prayer:  Father, by faith in Jesus may I rejoice in this season of mercy.

Promise:  "Let us strive to enter into that rest, so that no one may fall, in imitation of the example of Israel's unbelief." —Heb 4:11

Praise:  Anthony unknowingly began a worldwide monastic movement by simply having "no love for the world, nor the things that the world affords" (1 Jn 2:15). He moved into the desert as a teenager to pray and fast. God brought many others to follow him. He served God faithfully until dying at the age of 105.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, June 20, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 1996