Monday, March 05, 2007

Monday word, 05 Mar 2007

2 Lenten Monday (05 Mar 2007) Dn 9. 4b-10; Ps 79; Lk 6. 36-38
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Under Control

The lectionary sadly omits why Daniel prayed. I, Daniel, tried to understand in the Scriptures the counting of the years of which the Lord spoke to the prophet Jeremiah: that for the ruins of Jerusalem seventy years must be fulfilled. I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. His words, tried to understand in the Scriptures, cue us to a turning point for the people Israel: life in exile is not what God’s word contained. Is not God in control of history?

That led Daniel, and later others in not so different circumstances, to make sense of God’s word as faithful in the face of seemingly contrary circumstances. Their answer lay in periods of history. When history completed periods of time, even periods when people rebelled and departed from God’s commandments [and ignored God’s] servants the prophets, people could see that, appearances to the contrary, God controlled history.

If men and women lived in a time when they were persecuted for holding God’s word, they knew that God would vindicate them. Even if they did live to see it, a period of time in harmony with God’s heart would dawn.

That dawning reached noon with Jesus, and it continues by virtue of his risen presence among us. God’s justice, which Daniel earlier recognized--Justice, O Lord, is on your side--Jesus revealed is God’s forgiving mercy.

To stop judging, to stop condemning and to forgive: each is how we participate in God’s loving mercy Acting in those ways flows from confidence that God controls history despite any appearance to the contrary. The most notable example of God’s control was raising Jesus from death. The resurrection is our reason to show mercy. Our Lenten disciplines help deepen our confidence that God controls history in his Son.
Photo of Christian Charity is in the public domain.

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