The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! The Two Sides of Bread Waiting for the Ticket The Groove of the Spirit Jesus Is Not Like Congress A Divine Partnership What Kind of Love Is This? Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle Ask First for Sight What God Sees Only God The Arc of the Universe Turmoil, Fear, and Dismay The Gift of the Desert A Punch for the Holidays Politics and Religion Jesus Always Understands One Body God’s Love The Call Blessings and Woes Imitating God’s Mercy The Blind Leading the Blind The Devil’s Agenda Looking Closer, Looking Beyond Accepting God’s Love Mob Thinking The Easter Egg Fishing with Uncle Mike Loving Like Jesus God’s in Love with This World

An Oasis for Everyone

March 13, 2016 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

March 13, 2016
John 8:1-11
Fr. George Smiga

Pope Francis has asked us to consider this year a year of mercy. The mercy in question is primarily the mercy of God. God extends mercy to us, even though we fall short, even though we are sinners. Our very relationship with God would be impossible without a free graciousness on God’s part. Jesus, of course, reflects the mercy of God, and we would be hard pressed to find a clearer example of this than today’s gospel. The woman who is brought before Jesus was guilty. She was caught in the very act of adultery. She stood as a sinner according to Mosaic Law and equally so according to Christian moral teaching. Jesus rejects the sin, but shows mercy to the sinner. Jesus seems to be more concerned about the future goodness of this woman than about condemning the evil of her past. Jesus clearly reflects the mercy of God.

But mercy is not meant to end with God. It extends to us. If God is a God of mercy, we too must be merciful. Pope Francis said it this way when inaugurating the Year of Mercy, “Wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy.” Now the image of the oasis is an apt one, because when we look at the values and at the rhetoric of our society, it often appears as a desert in which mercy is hard to find. What is popular in our society is not mercy, but stricter laws, power moves, the desire to strike back and get even. We do not look for leaders who show compassion. We seek strongmen who can throw their weight around. Fewer and fewer people see any value to a graciousness that goes beyond legalism and vindictive justice.

Being merciful is clearly counter-cultural. And to make it even more of a challenge, mercy is meant to extend to everyone: to Christians and to Muslims, to citizens and to immigrants, to those who are repentant and to those who have not yet found the way to repentance. “Wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy.” That’s a big order. It takes courage to exercise mercy in a society that sees mercy as weakness. It takes conviction to believe that mercy is a sign of the goodness and the power of God.

So how do we find the strength to be people of mercy? We remember God’s mercy to us. If God were to judge us on strict justice, all of us would fall. But day after day, God extends mercy to us, so that we might continue to live. Having received that mercy, how can we choose to judge and condemn others who look to us for mercy?

God’s mercy and our mercy are connected. Every day we pray, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” If we do not forgive others, how can we expect to be forgiven? If we show mercy, mercy will be shown to us. That is why it is crucial not only for others but also for us to be an oasis of mercy and to extend that mercy to everyone.

Change this in Theme Options
Change this in Theme Options