Divine mercy should spur more love PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 12 June 2016 14:36

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

Because God has forgiven us of our sins, we are most grateful to him and love him more in return. This is the lesson we can gather from that Gospel episode where a sinful woman gate-crashed into a party just to be close to Christ, then washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. (Lk 7,36-50)

“Her many sins have been forgiven, hence, she has shown great love,” Christ told the judgmental host of the party who thought that if Christ was truly a prophet, he would know what kind of woman was ministering to him.

Christ corrected the host by saying that the woman showed him greater love than the host because of the many details of affection that she did which the party-giver failed to do.

“You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment.”

What this episode presumes is that the woman acknowledged her many and grave sins and the great mercy given to her, for which she was most thankful. The logic is that the greater and the more numerous the sins, the greater and the more abundant is the divine mercy. As a result, the repentant sinner ends up with a greater love for God.

The opposite is also true. As Christ told the party host, “the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” We can just imagine the kind and the amount of love one can have toward God and others if he does not consider himself as a sinner or when he falls into the sad state of self-righteousness.

Loving God is also a function of the tremendous divine mercy given to us. And we cannot underestimate the amount of divine mercy given to us because our capacity to sin is also tremendous. As the Book of Proverbs would put it: “A just man falls seven times…” (24,16)

We need to confront the dark reality of our sinfulness as well as the reassuring reality of God’s mercy. These two realities should go together to bring out the tremendous love that can result from them.

Whenever we feel the sting of our weaknesses and sinfulness, together with their antecedents and consequences, their causes and effects, let’s never forget to consider also God’s mercy that is always given to us, and, in fact, given to us abundantly.

What we have to avoid is to get stuck with one while ignoring the other. Our sinfulness should be viewed in the context of divine mercy. And vice-versa: God’s mercy should be regarded in the context of our unavoidable sinfulness.

And from there, let us develop the unshakable conviction that no matter what sins we commit, no matter how ugly they are, there is always hope. God’s mercy is never lacking.

We have to counter that common phenomenon of many people drifting and plunging into despair, before falling into the worse condition of hardened immorality and amorality, because they fail to realize the constant availability of divine mercy.

It might be good to recall those gospel episodes where Christ fraternized more with the publicans and sinners over those who were self-righteous, although he was also concerned about the latter.

More specifically, let’s recall that parable of the two men, one a Pharisee and the other a publican, who went to the temple to pray. (cfr Lk 18,10ff) The former was proud