Be merciful as your Father is merciful

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”

Today’s Gospel is short on words, but long on impact. There’s more than can be unraveled in a single sitting. The line that keeps circling in my heart is the first one. Jesus tells us, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Although the “merciful” part is of paramount significance, the part that really impresses me is “your Father”. Jesus doesn’t say “a Father”, “the Father” or even “my Father”. Instead, he says, “your Father”, meaning my Father, your Father, and everyone else in the human race’s Father.

In particular, Jesus uses the word your to draw our attention to the fact that we are sons and daughters of God, we are the cherished heirs of the Kingdom. We are God’s children in every possible way, and he cares deeply about us. He takes a personal, individual interest in each one of us, wanting always what’s best for us. He knows that, unless we learn to show mercy to others, we’ll remain estranged from ourselves, estranged from others and, more importantly, estranged from him.

Therefore, be merciful as your Father is merciful.

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