REFLECTION/HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE FIFTEENTH (15TH) WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

MERCY OVER SACRIFICE

First Reading: Exodus 11:10-12:14
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 115(116):12-13,15-18
Gospel Reading: Matthew 12:1-8
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In a world fraught with complexities and often marred by strife and division, the call to reflect God’s mercy and compassion, and not sacrifice resonates as a profound and transformative mandate. In times past, the pursuit of holiness and righteousness were entangled with rigid observance of religious rituals and laws; however, Jesus calls us to a deeper understanding of true holiness – one that reflects God’s mercy and compassion towards others. Today’s readings converge to deliver a powerful message: we are called to reflect God’s mercy and not just offer sacrifices. These passages remind us that our religious practices should not become empty rituals devoid of love and compassion, but rather, they should flow from a heart deeply rooted in God’s mercy and grace.

In the First Reading from Exodus (11:10-12:14), we encounter the institution of the Passover, a profound testament to God’s mercy and compassion. As the Angel of Death passed over the homes marked with the blood of the sacrificial lamb, God’s mercy spared the firstborn of the Israelites, liberating them from the bondage of Egypt. The Passover foreshadows the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God, whose blood brings eternal redemption and salvation to all who believe in Him. This powerful event teaches us that God’s mercy takes precedence over religious rituals. It is not mere adherence to rules and regulations that captures God’s heart; rather, it is a heart moved by compassion and love for His people.

In consonance, the Responsorial Psalm (115:116:12-13,15-18) beautifully expresses gratitude for God’s mercy, acknowledging His unwavering compassion and deliverance from distress. We are called to mirror this gratitude by extending mercy and compassion to others. In our daily lives, we encounter numerous opportunities to be vessels of God’s mercy to those around us – the marginalized, the oppressed, the lonely, and the brokenhearted. Through acts of kindness, understanding, and forgiveness, we become living reflections of God’s tender mercy and love.

And in the Gospel Reading from Matthew (12:1-8), Jesus challenges the Pharisees’ legalistic interpretation of the Sabbath law. He demonstrates that mercy and compassion hold greater value than rigid observance of religious regulations. By citing the examples of David and the priests, Jesus reveals that acts of mercy and compassion supersede the letter of the law. As His followers, we are called to embody this compassionate spirit, reaching out to those in need without judgment or condemnation.

Dear friends in Christ, within the broader society, we encounter numerous issues where the call to reflect God’s mercy and not sacrifice is paramount. In matters of social justice, poverty alleviation, and the pursuit of equality, we are called to prioritize mercy over judgment, compassion over indifference, and understanding over hostility. By advocating for the marginalized, extending a helping hand to the less fortunate, and working towards a more just and inclusive society, we become agents of God’s mercy in the world. The call to reflect God’s mercy and compassion begins within the family. Within the complexities of family dynamics, we are urged to cultivate an environment of understanding, forgiveness, and empathy. In times of conflict, rather than seeking to be right, we should prioritize reconciliation and healing. By modeling mercy within our families, we create a nurturing foundation for love and support, reflecting God’s heart of compassion. Finally, within the sacred space of the Church and parish activities, we are called to exemplify God’s mercy and compassion. As a faith community, our interactions should be marked by love, acceptance, and inclusivity. Whether in liturgical celebrations, outreach ministries, or parish gatherings, we must foster an atmosphere of genuine care for one another. In doing so, we become a beacon of God’s mercy and a tangible expression of His love to the world.

Above all, the call to reflect God’s mercy and not sacrifice permeates every aspect of our lives. The readings from Exodus, Psalms, and Matthew resound with the urgency of this transformative mandate. As we journey through life, may we embrace God’s mercy, extending it generously to others, and thereby becoming authentic reflections of His compassionate heart. Let us be mindful that our actions, whether within society, family, or the Church, speak volumes about the God we serve. By living out mercy and compassion, we contribute to a world transformed by love and grace, drawing others closer to the One whose mercy endures forever.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE NEXT DAY’S REFLECTION: REFLECTION/HOMILY FOR SATURDAY (FEAST OF ST. MARY MAGDALENE)

Shalom!
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
nozickcjoe@gmail.com / fadacjay@gmail.com

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Chinaka Justin Mbaeri

A staunch Roman Catholic and an Apologist of the Christian faith. More about him here.

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Emeka Odugu
Emeka Odugu
11 months ago

God Almighty, make our atmosphere friendly and our environment serene so we can demonstrate genuine care for one another and become a beacon of Your mercy and a tangible expression of Your love to the world.

We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen

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