Deacon Stu Dobson’s Reflection
Friday, July 2, 2021 – 13th Week In Ordinary Time
Gen 23:1-4, 19; 21:1-8; 62-67 Ps 106 Mt 9:9-13
We have heard a lot about Mercy over the last few years starting with Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy in 2015 to 2016. During this special time, extra graces were endowed on us if we made use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, detached ourselves from sin and received the Eucharist. It was a time for us to step back, reflect and realize the affect the sin in our lives had on our salvation. When I entered the Church in 1984, Confession, let alone grace and mercy, was one of the things I struggled with. How could I be forgiven for something I had done?
Shortly after I entered the Church, I was attending a bible study, where the Gospel passage today was the topic of discussion. We were to meditate on it, then come up with a reflection, a layman’s homily so to speak, on the significance of the passage. I do not recall all what I wrote, but I do recall beginning to understand the message buried within it, the message of love, grace, and mercy. Mercy being the most important of the three for me. So, years later, when Pope Francis declared the Year of Mercy, my ears perked up, and I began to mediate again on God’s love for me and the mercy He has for us.
In the past, I had often seen the Catholic Church as one of the “church of guilt.” Meaning, if you sin and do not repent, you go to Hell. There never seemed to be any hope for salvation within Her walls; until I read that passage from Matthew’s Gospel: “Follow me,” Jesus says, and, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.” I knew I was sick, in the sense of being a sinner, but I never realized until that moment, that I needed God’s mercy to be healed. Healed of all those things that took me away from my relationship with God. Without God’s mercy, there was no hope. But with God’s mercy and love I could be healed, and only then could I answer the call to Follow Him.
How often do we fall back into that thought pattern, that I am not worthy? Matthew struggled with that as well. Being a tax collector, he was considered a major sinner. Yet, Jesus called him, and Matthew dropped everything to follow Him. We can only imagine the love Jesus poured out not only on Matthew, but all those who were present at that meal that were considered “sinners,” as the Pharisees said. It was through the love of Jesus and God’s mercy and grace, that all those so-called sinners were healed. If God can do that for them, why can’t He do that for us? While the Year of Mercy is over, God’s love for us never ends. We always need forgiveness, detachment from sin and the life- giving graces we receive whenever we receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Make use of these sacraments, Reconciliation, and reception of the Eucharist. These are the lifesaving healings we need from our merciful physician, Jesus. He is there waiting for us. Come, be part of the guests at the table, and receive the mercy granted to us for eternity.