Wednesday, May 6, 2009


First Reading: Acts 12:24-13:5a
Psalm: Ps 67:2-3, 5-6, 8
Gospel: Jn 12:44-50

And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day - John 12:47-48
Today's reading speaks to us of God's great mercy.

At first, it is difficult to follow; Jesus is saying he won't condemn people who don't obey him? He's come to save us and not to punish those that didn't obey his commands? Then why should we bother being good at all? It is only once the second part of the statement comes in that the first part becomes easier to understand (another good reason for always taking verses in context!)

Jesus tells us in the second half of his statement that those who reject him, or do not accept his words are subject to judgment and condemnation. However, those who fail to hear his commands and yet fail to obey will not be condemned, because they have not rejected Jesus or thrown away his teachings. How can this be? Is one who is sinning not rejecting the teachings of Jesus?

There are some important things to note to clarify the issue. Sometimes, in order to obey a command of Jesus, we are forced to break another (hopefully, the lesser evil is chosen). See the story of Irena for an excellent example. More commonly, we make a mistake, we stumble, we fall. If we come back to Jesus and confess that we've made a mistake in breaking one of his commandments, then we are forgiven and not condemned. It is only those who are too proud to admit a mistake to God, or who refuse to acknowledge his teachings, that have something to worry about when the time comes for judgment. Jesus understands that we do not live in a world free from all troubles. That is why we are so fortunate to have a high priest who can sympathize with us.

Heavenly Father, we thank You and praise You for the gift of this day. We ask You to guide us in our journey of faith, especially when we are faced with difficult situations. We thank You for Your great mercy, and for coming among us to save us. We beg pardon for those who do not accept You. May your infinite love and mercy change their hearts. We ask all of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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