Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Parable of Mercy

7 And he said to the vinedresser, `Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?'
8 And he answered him, `Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure.
9 And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'"

 Two things strike me this Sunday, one is the mercy God shows and the second is the mercy man must show to other men.
 The first act of the mercy of God is woven through the Old and New Testament in beggars and kings.  The ongoing love affair that God has with his people is a story of forgiveness seventy times seventy.  God’s love seems to be in the scriptures, the very act of disciplined forgiveness and welcoming back of his people.

 The second act of mercy which we are called too has always been much harder for me to grasp.  The idea of others not knowing right from wrong, took a long time for me to understand. The first time this lack was glaring at me in my life was when a young man who I worked with stole money from the business.  When the manager came back, he gave him a second chance.

For years, off and on, I wondered why he gave him that chance when it was obvious to me that ‘to steal is wrong’ and you must face the consequence, ‘to be fired.’  I gained understanding when in the second year of teaching a young man in 7th and then 8th grade an accident occurred.

The young man had done many things to warrant putting him out of this Catholic school.  I forgot now the problems he may have caused me, but I liked him because he reminded me of my brother.  Between shouting at teachers and breaking windows, he might be calm for the period of time he had my class. Then he would only tear up the textbook like a superhero showing his strength.  I couldn't understand why meeting after meeting and the principal allowed this child to stay at our school.

In the beginning of the eighth grade year a car hit him on a four wheel bike.  I received a message from a student that night to pray for him, but I didn’t know what for.

After three months of healing and rehabilitation he came back with his legs still broken in a wheel chair.  After more time he was able to walk again.  He was a different person, happy and grateful for his life.  I was grateful too and he didn’t look back at his problems before because he knew he had to do his best from then on in his gratitude.

Once I had processed this two year relationship with the child, parent and principal, I finally understood true mercy.

Today as I pray for God’s mercy on my own soul, I ponder the great graces that HE had prepared and waiting, ready for me to ask and receive.  Man has such a capacity for love of others, but it is so stilted by the selfish desires of the mind and heart.

Another great blog, The Sacred Page points to the message of the woman at the well and the forgiveness she can receive from Christ as he speaks with her.  The author points to the spouses that Israel had also, straying away from the one true God.   But he explains the great mercy that God shows in calling us back to Him no matter the cause or digression from His love.

In the reading today at my church, the parable of the barren fig tree in Luke 13 suggests the tilling of the soul that may lead to fruit.  This tilling and fertilization may or may not lead to fruit, as in the way in which we try to love others in our lives who throw it back in our face, but who is willing to say that they did not try to show mercy as God shows mercy and expect the same for themselves?