25th Week in Ordinary Time

 

Mercy came to us from the Lord. 

 

Did you ever think that you had conquered a pattern of sin, only to find yourself falling back into it once again?   Maybe you were finally getting control of your temper.   But then you slipped and yelled at your children.    At first, it didn’t seem so bad—it was only one time.   But then you did it again, and before you knew it, you were right back where you started.   Maybe you thought, “There’s no way the Lord will give me another chance!”

Over the centuries, the Israelites had promised to obey God on many occasions, but so often they too fell back into sin.   When the Babylonians invaded their land, a portion of the Jewish population was sent into exile.   But when the exiled people returned to Jerusalem, they discovered that those who had remained in the Holy City had wandered far from the Lord.   Frustrated and ashamed of his people’s tendency to fall back into sin, Ezra, a priest, repented on their behalf and begged God for mercy.   And look how God responded.   He didn’t just forgive them;   he helped them rebuild their city.

It’s tempting to believe that God is done with us when we find ourselves falling into the same old sins.   We may even keep some distance from him, afraid of what he might say or do if we were to pray.   But Ezra shows us another way.   Rather than letting shame control us, we can turn to God in repentance and ask for the grace—again—to start over.

Where have you been struggling lately?   Maybe you have become judgmental and harshly critical of people.   Perhaps you are caught up in jealousy over something your friend has that you want.   Whatever it is, instead of looking at it as something to hide from the Lord, address it head-on.   Admit that it is wrong, and ask God for his mercy.

What if you should fall again?   Don’t be discouraged.   God is more than willing to meet you where you are and give you another chance.   He is always waiting for you with open arms.   He is always ready to shower you with grace so that you can finally know freedom and peace.   So go ahead and run to him!

“Thank you, Father, for your never-ending mercy!”

(Psalm) Tobit 13:2-4, 7-8
Luke 9:1-6

Word Among Us