THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for Friday of the Second Week of Lent, March 6th, 2015
Liturgical texts here
Rescued By Love, by Darren Tan
THE parable of the tenants in the vineyard, who murder the landowners servants and even his son is, of course, symbolic of centuries of prophets that the Father sent to the people of Israel, culminating in Jesus Christ, His only Son. All of them were rejected.
…the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. (Today’s Gospel)
Fast forward to our times when, once again, the Lord has sent prophet after prophet to call His people back to Himself. We have beat them with our unbelief, killed their message with our stubbornness, and stoned their reputations. So what is next? Jesus revealed the proximate future to St. Faustina:
I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]…. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy… He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice… Speak to the world about My mercy… It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fountain of My mercy. —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Faustina, 1160, 848
We might take this to mean that, when the day of justice or “day of the Lord” comes, that it will be too late for those who did not repent. cf. Faustina, and the Day of the Lord However, Scripture seems to indicate otherwise…
As we read in Revelation 6, seals are broken that inaugurate the end of the age cf. Seven Seals of Revolution as man begins to reap the full harvest of what he has sown. Human discord and disaster crescendo in a great shaking that awakens the consciences of everyone from paupers to princes. cf. Rev 6:12-17 For they see a vision of the throne room of the Father and the Lamb who was slain, cf. Rev 3:21 and they cry out…
…because the great day of their wrath has come and who can withstand it? (Rev 6:17)
It is the beginning of the “day of justice” (though not the end of the world. See Faustina and the Day of the Lord). What follows is a series of global and regional chastisements that lead to the Lord’s harvest, when ultimately the weeds are separated from the wheat (depending on whether one has taken the mark of the beast, cf. Rev 14:11 or the mark of Christ. cf. Rev 7:3) Yes, God will punish mankind, but even this will be out of His mercy. For we read that when several of the chastisements come…
…they did not repent or give him glory. (Rev 16:9)
…they did not repent of their works. (Rev 16:11)
This could only mean one thing: that these chastisments were also an act of God’s mercy intended to bring people to repentance. For we read in another passage that there is a great earthquake, and…
Seven thousand people were killed during the earthquake; the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Rev 11:13)
In today’s first reading, it was the drought that drove Joseph’s brothers to Egypt where they experienced their little brothers’s mercy and compassion. Likewise, starvation drove the prodigal son to his father. So too, God will bring Mercy in Chaos in order to save as many souls as possible who might ordinarly remain stubborn right into eternity.
Christ fell three times under the weight of humanity’s rejection. But He continued to get up again and again, driven by love for us.Would He who crawled for our salvation not run to us now that He is risen? The door of Justice is not necessarily a closure on mercy, but the end of a “time of mercy” in which His grace could be more easily found.
Jesus never gave up. He never will. God is love, and “love never fails.” cf. 1 Cor 13:8
If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself. (2 Tim 2:13)
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