The ultimate measure is love! And where there is generous love, mercy flows lavishly!
The un-named woman with the alabaster jar! The party crasher! That’s how we see her. We are filled with images of tears that wash the feet of Jesus, her hair being used as a drying cloth and the kissing of Jesus’ feet. Perhaps we can smell the expensive perfume poured on Jesus’ head. What did Jesus do when this woman audaciously enters and begins her ritual of love and gratitude? While others name her a sinner and shame her, Jesus reclines and accepts her as she is, without speaking. Pope Francis shares this reflection:
The sinful woman teaches us the link between faith, love and gratitude. Her “many sins” were forgiven her and therefore she loves much, “but he who is forgiven little, loves little” (v. 47). Even Simon has to admit that the one who has been forgiven more, loves more. God has enclosed everyone in the mystery of mercy; and from this love, which always goes before us, all of us learn to love. As St. Paul reminds us: “In Christ, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he has lavished upon us” (Eph. 1:7-8). In this text, the word “grace” is practically synonymous with mercy, and is called “lavish,” that is, beyond our expectations, for it carries out God’s saving plan for each of us. Dear brothers and sisters, let us be grateful for the gift of faith. Let us thank the Lord for so great and unmerited a love. Let us allow Christ’s love to be poured out into us: the disciple draws from and is grounded in this love; and on this love everyone can be nourished and fed. In this way, in the grateful love that we, in turn, pour out on our brothers and sisters, in our home, on our family, and in society, we communicate the Lord’s mercy to everyone.
Compassion Brings New Life
Paying attention to what is going on in life can move us to compassion. Elijah and Jesus both paid attention to two widows whose only sons had died. What are you paying attention to that awakens compassion in you? And how does God visit other people through you?
By paying attention to God and to the other, we feel with the other, and God responds to us and through our words and deeds. Pay attention to what is going on around you, in your family life, in the community and in the world touches us and moves us. If Elijah or Jesus were here today to move us to compassion, who are the hurting people, who are the hurting communities that they would direct us to?
How would they ask us to restore those who are suffering to NEW life? Pope Francis names them for us all the time: the imprisoned, Syrian refugees, the poor, homeless persons and countless others.
If we turn to God in prayer like Paul, if we listen to our prayers of intercession on Sunday, we will know what groups need our attention. And through our attentive compassionate response, the Lord will visit his people again!
“Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
Why are meals, eaten in the company of others so important to us? There’s so much more that happens when food, conversation and care are shared. Most of the time we linger and long for the time when we can do this again. Meals seal our loves and our lives. We become that which we receive—family, friendship, companionship. We are bound together in new ways. Eucharist is like that too! It seals us to one another. It promises a future. It provides food for the journey of life, of faith, of conversion.
As you think about your lifetime, in what ways has sharing in the Eucharist made you that which you receive?
To what or to whom has Eucharist made you more committed, more covenanted?
Our friend, Buddy Mullan would always describe the Trinity as a mystery. And we can get a glimpse of what the Trinity is all about by looking at the Trinity as relationship.
The truth of God is a relational truth. Our experience of God is the loving relationship of the Father, with the Son, in the Spirit. The relationship expressed in the Trinity is one of harmony and peace. This connectedness drenches us like the rain. It floods our being. It is a grabbing embrace that keeps moving us to our re-union with God for eternity.
The relationship of the Trinity inspires all of us at St. Francis. We are a relational people in countless, inclusive ways. We are disciples learning, welcoming, eating, praying, growing, weeping, encouraging and serving together. We are about creating and delighting in creation. We are about sacrifice and cooperation. And we are friends or at least familiar faces known to each other when our eyes meet in greeting and our prayers meet in intercession that the community we enjoy will continue to give glory to God. This is what we do every weekend!
Triune God, you invite us into relationship with you and with each other. May we be a living doxology that proclaims glory to you, Father, Son and Spirit, now and forever. Amen. And St. Buddy, pray for us!
By Sr. Rose Kruppa, CDP
Imagine those disciples in a locked room, filled with fear, without hope, purpose or identity. There are times when I identify with that scenario. I am overwhelmed by not understanding, not having clarity, feeling that I’ve failed. You too?
And then Christ greets the gathered with peace, as he has over and over again since the resurrection, and breathes new life into all of them–no exceptions! That new life is the Holy Spirit. This Pentecost gift makes them powerful preachers who make bold proclamations about the marvels that God has accomplished.
The Holy Spirit is our breath too! God breathes new life into us, giving us all that we need to dispel fear, to fill us with new hope, purpose and identity. And filled with that Spirit, we become disciples in the ordinary things that we do for each other every day. We are disciples when we are grateful for God’s gifts and when we practice using those gifts of the Holy Spirit. To learn more about how we do that in ordinary life, Click here