Grace to you!
Did you notice that Exodus 34:6-7 has at least seven attributes of Divine Mercy? Read the text for yourself:
“The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation” (Ex 34:6-7).
This, one of the oldest revelations of Divine Mercy in Scripture, came after the people of Israel sinned against God by erecting the god of their own hands, the golden calf, and worshipped it. What fascinates me the most is to read God’s response and how mercy precedes His justice.
Pay attention to the first part of that message, it is nothing short of Divine Mercy.
(1) God merciful,
(3) slow to anger,
(4) steadfast in love,
(5) in faithfulness,
(6) steadfast love for thousands,
(7) forgiving (iniquity, transgression and sin)…
You notice that there are at least seven different adjectives qualifying God’s mercy in this text. You are probably aware also that the number seven is symbolic—perfection, completeness—in the biblical language. The mercy of God comes before His justice. His mercy, faithful love, endures forever (Ps 136:1).
Saint Pope John Paul II, in writing about the mercy and justice of God in his Dives in misericordia, number 4, emphasized that it is the mercy of God which draws God’s children to seek for repentance.
Personally, when I remember how much God loves me and how much He forgives, I am quick to run to him at the Confessional to ask for forgiveness of my sins. Divine Mercy inspires. It doesn’t discourage.
God’s mercy is also expressed in the famous parable of the weeds in the field. The explanation the Lord gave concerning the weed (Mt 13:36-43) shows that God’s mercy is constantly waiting for the sinner to repent.
However, the mercy of God’s isn’t to be taken for granted. These two biblical stories, Exodus 34:6-8 and Matthew 13:36-43, show God’s mercy and God’s justice go hand in hand. Those who seek, or rather accept the mercy of God, are saved from His justice. But if the mercy of God is tossed, completely ignored or treated as a fairy tale, His justice follows in the end.
This is how the Lord Jesus Christ explains the Justice of God at the harvest: “Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear” (Mt 13:40-43).
Praying that God will grant us the grace to always embrace His Mercy and not witness His justice. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday 17th Week Ordinary Time A: Ex 33: 7-11; 34:5B-9, 28; Mt 13:36-43]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.