Second Monday of Lent

February 26, 2018 / By: Curtis Le May

Dn 9:4b-10/Lk 6:36-38

The readings for Monday of the Second Week in Lent focus on God’s merciful qualities, especially the significance of showing compassion and forgiveness to others.  Moreover, performing acts of mercy and forgiveness correspond to divine attributes that are exercised by both the Heavenly Father and Jesus, the son. We see this when Jesus says: "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36).

In particular, today’s New Testament reading from the Gospel of Luke documents some clear examples of how Jesus conveys the importance of practicing humility, charity, and sisterly and brotherly love that results from one’s inner, spiritual transformation through prayerful, and interior self-assessment. Concisely, the readings fit wonderfully with Lent as they show us how sincerely examining our hearts and minds in God’s presence can help empower us to practice heartfelt works of mercy. 

Advocating God’s merciful qualities was an important part of Jesus’ public ministry. This is observable in the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus says: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Matt. 5:7).  We discover related teachings in the Sermon on the Plain, in Luke’s Gospel, specifically on the value of tolerance, when we read: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven" (Lk. 6:37-38). Here Jesus helps us to form our consciences. His words help us reflect on our biases, face our prejudices, consider how one may develop a less judgmental outlook, and, above all, he emphasizes the significance of forgiveness. 

In calling us to be merciful, Jesus shows us the importance of developing a loving disposition towards those who suffer distress. As a result, when we practice love, compassion, and forgiveness towards family members, neighbors, co-workers, and strangers, these qualities add a wonderful sense of peace, healing, and reconciliation to these relationships. In brief, showing mercy is the most superlative response one can use when addressing the needs of God’s creation, especially to the weak and poor.

To conclude, Jesus is also asking us to give up our condemnatory ways, for it is nearly impossible for one to be open to transformative change when one is prideful. Thus, during the season of Lent, the Church provides us with many opportunities when we can humbly place ourselves in God’s loving hands, and nothing humbles us more than having God ask us to recognize our brokenness. God is calling us to be reconciled and to use this time to work on ourselves. We do this through prayer. Love is our motivation. What is more, there are joyful consequences to being merciful, for, when we perform works of mercy unselfishly, both the giver and the receiver receive spiritual benefits.

Curt LeMay
Library Director and Theological Librarian