Speak Lord: Of mercy

paul-st-trophimeThe second reading on Sunday, the 24th of Ordinary Time, begins a sequence of readings from Paul’s Letters to Timothy (both of them), read over the next seven weeks.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, and who judged me faithful enough to call me into his service even though I used to be a blasphemer and did all I could to injure and discredit the faith.

Mercy, however, was shown me, because until I became a believer I had been acting in ignorance; and the grace of our Lord filled me with faith and with the love that is in Christ Jesus.

Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

I myself am the greatest of them; and if mercy has been shown to me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the greatest evidence of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people who would later have to trust in him to come to eternal life.

To the eternal King, the undying, invisible and only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Timothy 1:12-17

One of the wonders of God’s mercy, and his sustaining grace, is that he is able to make draw virtue out of our sin and failing. The Church, at Easter, acknowledges even the catastrophe of Adam’s sin as a ‘blessed fault’, for it was the occasion of Christ’s incarnation and the victory he won for our salvation, for the ultimate revelation of God’s power, love and mercy.

Like Paul’s, our sins too are ’cause’ for God’s mercy. Believers we may have been or not, but God’s mercy is not constrained by such circumstances. God’s mercy is always, everywhere, freely offered. And the only condition for our fruitful reception of that mercy is our repentance and readiness to receive it, and our desire to live refreshed, renewed lives.

We may, as yet, be far from our final conversion, when all will be loveliness in our lives. But in the meantime mercy is ours, to give us a taste of what lies ahead, and the hope that we will, by God’s grace, get there.

To the eternal King, the undying, invisible and only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

  • For what mercy, especially, do you thank God for today?
  • What new love do you ask of him?

St Paul, Church of St Trophime, Arles. (c) 2013, Allen Morris.

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