“Works of Mercy!” by Tiffany Clough, Fiat Ventures

“GoodSam14” by sbhland is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A test?  I thought school was out for the summer!  Ok, not that kind of test – but this week tested my patience, my stress levels, and my sleep schedule.  Last week, I spent time serving with teens in four cities in New Jersey.  We worked in soup kitchens, gardens, homes, and places where many services were offered to those less fortunate.  We all found this experience rewarding emotionally and spiritually.

Jesus is also tested this week (also not that kind of test).  The Gospel reading begins with a scholar asking a question that could trick Jesus, corner Him, and contradict Him.  Jesus knows better, though.  He knows this scholar wants a particular answer.  Instead of getting trapped, Jesus tells a story. 

We often put ourselves into the Lord’s parables and play the best characters.  We want to be the sheep that stays, the mustard seed that grows. Have you ever examined the story of the Good Samaritan and put yourself in anyone else’s shoes besides his?

When in this past week were you the priest, the Levite, or the traveler?  When did you walk away from a friend in need?  When did you see something happen to someone and not help after? When did you need help and you witnessed people ignore that need? 

Jesus closes his story with a challenge: Go and do likewise.  If you made choices that lacked mercy last week, then take time this week to show others mercy.  Jesus gives us the “Works of Mercy”, which should really serve as a gut-check for us for how well we’re doing living out our Catholic faith.  That was certainly true for me and the teens I was with serving last week.  The corporal works of mercy are feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, caring for the sick, visiting the imprisoned, and burying the dead.

You may be thinking some of these are harder than others for a teen.  Visiting the imprisoned is daunting even for adults!  Yet you can find ways in your parish to support these ministries.  Jesus just wants you to care for your neighbor.  None of these acts qualify as miracles.  You can do any and all of these things right now.

In addition to taking care of these physical needs, there are also the spiritual works of mercy like instructing the ignorant. All of us are called to share and teach the faith passed on to us.  We are called to counsel the doubtful, to help a brother or sister who questions.  We are told to admonish the sinner, to help people identify a sin.  However, take great care to do all of this with grace.  When we wrong others and sin, we are to bear wrongs patiently.

When we can be patient with ourselves, we are able to give forgiveness for offenses willingly – without reservation.  If you struggle greatly on this one, then you are not alone.  I still have trouble with it, too.  Yet together with God’s grace, we can grow in our ability to give forgiveness.

Finally, we are asked to comfort the afflicted and pray for the living and the dead. These last two spiritual works don’t often sit in the fronts of our minds, so please make the extra effort here to work in God’s mercy! 

Are you the priest?  The Levite?  The Samaritan?  The traveler?  As you answer, consider Micah 6:8 and read between the lines.  “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  Act with mercy to walk with God.

Connect with Us

See our latest posts on Facebook and Youtube

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply