“Love and Mercy” by Melanie Blaszczak, Fiat Ventures

Flickr User Stella Dauer

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Think of a movie release you were excited about. Avengers Endgame? The last installment of the Skywalker Saga in Star Wars? Maybe even a comedy starring your favorite actor? Well I was pretty excited about a movie recently, but it wasn’t exactly the usual “summer blockbuster” you might think of.

It was about December when I heard a movie that was coming out in theaters about St. Faustina. Since Faustina has been one of my favorite saints, I longed to see this movie the minute it was out. Now, I must admit my proud Polish heart always loved Faustina for her extraordinary courage and achieving sainthood, but I really truly never knew her story. I can’t be the only Catholic that loves so many saints but doesn’t truly know how and when Jesus transformed these ordinary people into saints.

After I watched the movie I was encouraged and inspired by Faustina and the way that the Lord used her to bring His glory into this world with the very famous, Jesus I trust in You image. You’ve probably seen it; Jesus with the rays of light extending out from his heart.  Just seeing her on screen and listening to her triumphs and struggles, and let me tell you, man did she struggle. But what worthy saint did not struggle in their life! One thing that really struck me was that Faustina was chosen by our Lord to help spread the message that our God, our Father is love and mercy himself. Now, I must admit I know what mercy is and that as Catholics we should practice showing mercy to our brothers and sisters, but I never truly dove into this any further. What I learned from this movie and even reading some parts of Faustina’s diary (which I highly recommend) is that Jesus wants to bring us back to the Father. And that mercy is hard especially when we are called to show it in moments when we do not want to be merciful to our loved ones, friends, acquittances or even strangers.

In this week’s Gospel Jesus really challenges us to step up in our journey to sainthood. He wants each one of us to stop having this mentality of, “an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth” because that is not the way Jesus wants us to treat people. If every time we walk into a situation in our life thinking, well, “What will I get out of this?” and “Am I giving the same amount of energy as the other person?”, we are only setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment. We have to remember that people will fail us; after all, only our “heavenly Father is perfect,” but it is loving those people in their most unlovable state that helps us understand how Jesus wants us to love our neighbor.

Even though the Gospel seems very extreme, I challenge you to look deeper because Jesus is not saying we should be walking doormats when he says, when “someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well.”  What He is saying that we should give without expecting anything back in return and to love without measure. Loving without measure meaning, “loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us.” Yes, Jesus wants us to show everyone in our life love and mercy the same way that Jesus shows us that same love and mercy.

So, this week let us pray for more mercy because mercy is that extension that looks into a person and sees Jesus standing in front of them and loving that person even in their weakest moments. We all know that we fall short of the glory of God daily, but Jesus does not want us to give up.  He picks us up and brings us back to the Father. So, if we are struggling with something or someone lets reach out to Jesus this week, who is love and mercy Himself, so that we can better love our brothers and sisters. Jesus we wholeheartedly trust in You help us to be more holy just like our heavenly Father is holy!

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