Posted by: frburke23 | March 12, 2017

Thought for Monday, 2nd Week of Lent (March 13, 2017)

Thought for Monday, 2nd Week of Lent (March 13, 2017)
Luke 6:36-38
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.”
As we continue our spiritual spring training, today the Lord invites to look at mercy. Am I a merciful person? Do I judge and condemn others easily? Do I forgive freely?
Jesus asks us to be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful. How merciful is the Father? Infinite – there are no bounds to His mercy. Jesus is the perfect reflection of the Father. And Jesus showed the depth of His mercy while on the cross when he said, “Forgive them Father for they know now what they do.” After being beaten, mocked, spat upon, and tortured, Jesus forgave His persecutors. How would I react if I were Jesus? How do I react when I am hurt in much smaller ways? How do I learn to forgive?
I believe the more we experience the mercy of God in our own lives, the more merciful we can be with others. If I see myself as perfect and without need of mercy, I tend to be more judgmental of others. Or sometimes we are afraid to be vulnerable with God and others. However, if I have experienced the infinite mercy of God for my own transgressions, I am more likely to be merciful with those who have hurt me. I remember Fr. Hennessy told us in seminary, “The best confessors are those who are intimately in touch with their own sinfulness.”
This has been an important journey for me recently. Someone recently opened up to me about past sins that touched something in my own soul. As I was reminded of my own sinfulness, I was faced with a choice. I could simply say, “That was a long time ago”, and act like I did not need God’s mercy and healing. Or I could go back to that time, be vulnerable and seek God’s mercy and healing. I opted for the latter. I opened up to a friend and to God in a very vulnerable way. It was scary and I feared rejection. However, what I experienced was some of the deepest healing and freedom of my life.
I know this experience will make me a better priest and friend because I have experienced God’s mercy at a new depth. I now understand why people like the woman caught in adultery became such fervent disciples of Jesus. They experienced His mercy and their lives were never the same. I pray that I can be the instrument of this type of mercy and healing to all the people God places in my path.
Why do we judge and condemn others? Usually it is because we want to feel better about ourselves. When I put someone else down, I feel more important or self-righteous. This happens all around us every day. We react out of our woundedness by judging and condemning others. We are afraid to be vulnerable and admit our human weakness. The evil one tries to keep us from going to God’s mercy and healing because God’s love unifies us. The devil wants to keep us isolated and at odds with one another.
I believe this all comes down to knowing our identity as God’s beloved children. If I know that I am loved and I have experienced God’s loving mercy in a very personal way, I will give to others what I have received. And this becomes a wonderful cycle because Jesus says that we will receive in the same measure that we give. We first receive God’s love and mercy and then we give it away. And since we give it away, it will be poured back to us in abundance so that we can keep giving it away. This is the economy of God.
The opposite is true also. If I do not know that I am a beloved child of God, I have a very difficult time giving love away because I have never experienced it personally. We cannot give what we do not have. The divine life dies within us if we do not allow God to love and heal us. We build walls around our wounds and become prisoners of our own jail. If you are in this situation, seek out a priest or trusted friend who knows God’s mercy. Open up and let God love and heal you.
Do I know that God loves me?
Have I been vulnerable with God and maybe a trusted friend with my sins and my need for healing?
Have I experienced the infinite love and mercy of the Father?
Do I give away freely what I have first received from God?
Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke


  1. Thank you so much for your kind words and for your prayers for my dad. He finished his 3rd chemo treatment yesterday and is doing pretty well. HE is being carried by the prayers of so many people.

  2. Ptaise be to God!

  3. Thanks so much. The Lord placed these words on my heart after a very personal experience of healing.

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