The other night, my husband and I had a disagreement. It wasn’t a major argument by any means, but I found myself becoming impatient with what I considered “unjust.” What surprised me even more was how much more impatient I became when I was experiencing justice. When my husband brought up something that I had done which hurt him, I very quickly became defensive and wanted to place the blame on something else, instead of patiently accepting my faults and apologizing for them. So often when faced with my flaws, I get angry; not at the other person for pointing them out, but at myself for not always being the woman I want to be. How humbled I became when meditating on this mystery; when Christ stood blameless before Pilate, He didn’t try to defend His honor the way I often do. When faced with questioning, a truly just God stood silent and accepted a punishment He did not deserve.
Today’s readings in particular really speak of God’s divine justice as well as His merciful love, which thankfully always go hand in hand. Isaiah 53: 5 in saying “…he was wounded for our transgressions…by his stripes we were healed” seems to us now a clear foreshadowing of Christ’s passion, particularly the stripes given to our Lord during his scourging at the pillar.
This passage from Isaiah puts our own sin into context. We are being asked to recognize our flaws and even consider the consequences of our poor actions. We are the ones that are meant to be punished, and the punishment deserves to be worse than a stern talk from a parent, or a correction from a loving friend or gentle spouse. We have turned away from our Creator, the very Being that gave us life; we deserve death and death we were given in the Garden. The God of Justice could not simply ignore our need for discipline, so instead, the Lord patiently laid this burden on His bruised and bloodied back. Divine justice calls for retribution, but divine mercy calls for God Himself to pay the price.
The readings today are meant to encourage us to face ourselves as sinners, while at the same time recognizing that God has already overcome the parts of us we are often unwilling to face. Facing our faults, our sins, our perfections can be difficult because we are forced to face the need for just retribution; however, acknowledging these things can also open our hearts to accepting God’s mercy. God’s mercy is a gift that is freely given but it is also a gift that needs to be freely received. And the only way we can receive this mercy is if we recognize that we are in need of it. We can humbly accept God’s love by going to Him in confession and apologize for our sins against His most merciful heart.
God has already paid the price for our freedom and only we can choose to be set free.
Reflect: In what situations do you find yourself getting impatient? Why do you think you get impatient during these times? How can you begin to change your attitude of impatience toward a particular person or scenario?
Reflect: How have you experienced God’s divine mercy in your life?
Act: Do an examination of conscience this evening. Look back on your day and ask for forgiveness for the times you failed to follow Christ.