Mercy is God’s kind of justice

During his public ministry Jesus taught of love, compassion, and peace. He did not judge or condemn others; rather he accepted them as they were, broken and human. “Mercy is God’s kind of justice”, said St. Therese of Lisieux.

Mercy, these days, appears to be in very short supply. The vitriol and harsh rhetoric that has replaced reasoned dialogue and thoughtful conversation has suppressed mercy and kindness toward others. We judge others, as did the scribes and Pharisees, with hardened hearts. Verbal invectives are like stones hurled against others.

It is difficult to see how we can so easily cast stones at one another when we ourselves are not without sin. Yet we do so with appalling regularity. Often, we are unaware that we are thrusting judgment upon others; we allow our own bias and prejudice temper our personal perception of others. Throwing stones at others is often an unthinking act; the size of the stone may be like a grain of sand, small and seemingly insignificant. But stones of any size thrown with sufficient force are painful. They damage both the one who is stoned as well as the one who hurls them.

We know that we are sinners, repeat offenders. We are, by our very nature, born with the inclination to sin. And often that inclination appears to be an acutely steep and slippery slope. If in our hearts we are so inclined, then how difficult should it be to cast stones at others? This is the point that Jesus made when he told the scribes and Pharisees “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” [Jn 8:7]. And that is why they silently walked away, one by one, humbled and ashamed. In their hearts they knew that they were sinners. They all walked away, silently admitting their sinfulness. Only Jesus and the woman remained.

Jesus refused to offer condemnation upon the woman caught in the act of adultery. He said “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again” [Jn 8:11]. God’s mercy is forgiveness; our sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.

In our hearts we know that we are sinners. No matter how much we wish to be perfect we cannot be for only God is perfect. But we know that God is merciful and forgiving and that despite our brokenness He loves and forgives us. God never throws stones, He forgives. As Jesus tells us we must “Go and do likewise” [Jn 10:37].

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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