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Have Mercy on me, O God

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Psalms 51 (NIV)
 

From: https://heathercking.org/2016/01/20/the-grace-god-gives-for-the-wearied-soul/

 

1 Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion

blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash away all my iniquity

and cleanse me from my sin.

 

3 For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned

and done what is evil in your sight;

so you are right in your verdict

and justified when you judge.

5 Surely I was sinful at birth,

sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;

you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

 

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness;

let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins

and blot out all my iniquity.

 

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence

or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation

and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

 

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

so that sinners will turn back to you.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,

you who are God my Saviour,

and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

15 Open my lips, Lord,

and my mouth will declare your praise.

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;

you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17 My sacrifice, O God, is51:17 Or The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart

you, God, will not despise.

 

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,

to build up the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,

in burnt offerings offered whole;

then bulls will be offered on your altar.

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The Holy Spirit opens our hearts

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Matthew 12:38-42
 
Jonah and the Whale
 
Despite Jesus’ many miracles the Pharisees wanted to see more. But Jesus was having none of it and promised that the only other sign that would be given to them would be the sign of Jonah. The prophet Jonah was called by God to preach a message of repentance to the Gentiles of Nineveh (located in modern-day northern Iraq). 

In the bright constellation of Old Testament prophets Jonah shines (or not) as the most reluctant prophet. He disobediently ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish by boat. The Lord then sent a severe storm that caused the crew of the ship to fear for their lives. Jonah was soon thrown overboard and swallowed by a great fish, in whose belly he remained for ‘three days and three nights’ (Jon. 1:15-17).  After the three-day period, the Lord caused the great fish to vomit Jonah out onto dry land on. 2‘10). 

Chastened and humbled, Jonah delivered his message of repentance and conversion, and the Nineties responded favourably. In similar vein the Gentile Queen of Sheba went to great lengths (and miles) to hear the wisdom of Solomon and was very impressed (1 Kgs. 10-1—13).

Jesus pointed to these examples to highlight how the Spirit had opened the hearts of Gentiles to God’s message, but now, when one greater than Jonah or Moses — greater because they pointed to him — was among them, the religious authorities had hardened their hearts. 

The message of repentance and conversion is foundational to our faith. The Spirit always leads us towards the grace of repentance because it brings us into a human-divine reality: God is holy and we are sinners. We tend to think of this admission or confession as a sign of weakness but it is the very opposite: when we confess our sins, admit our fault and throw ourselves on God’s mercy, we receive every spiritual grace and blessing.

Lord have mercy upon me a sinner; wash away my iniquity and cleanse me of my sin.

Chris
 
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The Prodigal Son

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Luke 15:1–3, 11–32
 
The parable of the Prodigal Son is unique to St Luke’s Gospel.  The parable could equally be called the parable of the Father’s Heart, or of The Elder Brother.
 
Most people perhaps identify with the younger son – his destitution, his failure, his sinfulness, his wastrel nature . . .  Perhaps also we fully understand why his father’s heart went out to him.
 
But most likely we are more like the elder brother, indignant, self-righteous, looking down on such a sinner.  Note also that the father does not rebuke him harshly, but rather affirms his love for him as well.
 
Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and there are none so lost as those who do not understand that they are lost and walking in darkness.
 
We are all lost in some way, morally weak and confused; but God is a God of grace, mercy and forgiveness.  Every human being is love by God – no matter who they are, what they have done and how far beyond redemption they may seem.
 
Lord, preserve and protect me from having a heart like the elder brother.  Teach me to recognise profoundly that I am the worst of sinners, that I was once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.
 
Chris
 
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Have Mercy on me, a Sinner

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Mar 2:13-17
 
We must reach out to everyone with the Gospel message.  Jesus’s calling of Matthew was radical and reflected the scandalous nature of God’s mercy.
 
Pope Francis said: ‘ Tell me: when God looks at a gay person does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or does he reject and condemn this person?'
 
Jesus saw Matthew, the disciple, the apostle, the man of God.  We too must see in the others the person that Christ sees.
 
Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.
 
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Forgiveness, the Scandal of Mercy

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Luke 19:1-10
 
This encounter between Jesus and Zacchaeus the tax collector illustrates perfectly the ‘scandal of grace’.  It brings to the fore this very important biblical teaching that where sin abounds, grace super-abounds.
 
God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.
 
Through his encounter with Jesus Zacchaeus had an experience of God’s mercy and compassion which touched him and led him to repentance and conversion.  No one is beyond God’s grace and mercy.
 
We are to be a living expression, a sign, a sacrament of this same mercy, kindness and forgiveness.  Learning to forgive others, to hold out the hand of friendship and brotherhood/sisterhood to those we find difficult is not easy.
 
In fact, without God’s grace it’s impossible, but with God’s grace all things are possible.
 
Lord, you treated everyone you met with great dignity and compassion; as persons created in your image and likeness.  May I now go and do likewise.
 
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