"mercy is not strained"
"Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and abounding in kindness." —Psalm 103:8
Abraham asked the Lord to spare the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah if there were ten innocent people in those cities (Gn 18:32). Yet the cities were destroyed by fire and brimstone because there were not ten innocent people in them, and possibly because Abraham stopped interceding for the inhabitants of these cities.
Abraham possibly stopped interceding because:
- He thought he had reached the limits of God's mercy. This was wrong because in the light of the new covenant we know the Lord's mercy is limitless.
- Abraham thought there were surely at least ten innocent people in these wicked cities, but he was wrong. Our sins are often worse than we think. We need God's mercy much more than we realize.
- Abraham had reached the limits of his own mercy. Abraham may have thought that if they were that evil, they deserved to die. Let us instead live by God's standards of mercy.
Abraham probably underestimated God's mercy and humanity's need for it. Let us learn from this. "Blest are they who show mercy; mercy shall be theirs" (Mt 5:7).
Prayer: Father, make me a messenger of Your unlimited mercy.
Promise: "A scribe approached Him and said, 'Teacher, wherever You go I will come after You.' Jesus said to him, 'The foxes have lairs, the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.' " Mt 8:19-20
Praise: St. Junipero Serra was a Franciscan missionary from Spain, traveled from Mexico to California, and founded twelve missions. His motto was "Always forward, never back."
Reference: (Come study St. Paul's letter to the Colossians on July 12-14, or his letter to the Philippians on July 19-21. Paul's letters inspire us to this day to live a full Christian lifestyle in the Spirit. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 513-373-2397 to register or for more information.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 24, 2018
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