Know Scripture/Know Mercy Part 1
Throughout Biblical history we see God extending His Mercy to all those who ask for it; those who did not repent and ask for His mercy were left to their own devices.
In Genesis we see Adam and Eve disobeying God and when they are caught, what do they do: Adam blames Eve and ultimately God, “The woman whom YOU put here with me — she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it” (Genesis 3:12); Eve tells God “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it” (Genesis 3:13 ). Did you ever wonder what would have happened if they had just accepted the fact that they had sinned and asked God for forgiveness?
The Old Testament tells us of God’s infinite mercy, patience and love for the Israelites. These people continually abandoned God and when things could get no worse, they repented and were shown God’s mercy and were reconciled to Him. If you want to see examples of this, read the Old Testament Book of Judges or the story of King David and his Psalm 50. In fact the Psalms are loaded with calls for God’s Mercy. A common thread is that these people knew God. Yes, they abandoned Him on numerous occasions, but they knew Him and He loved them, and when they repented He welcomed them with love and mercy.
That brings us to the New Testament and the question “Why didn’t Peter kill himself as Judas did?” Both men lived with Christ, both denied him, and both were sorry for what they had done. I believe the answer lies in that Peter knew Christ and Judas did not. Peter listened intently with both his mind and heart to what Christ taught and did, while Judas was only interested in the money. “Then Judas the Iscariot, one (of) his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said,5 “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?”6 He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.” (John 12:4-6) Only a fool would steal from God. Judas was not a fool, so did he truly believe?
Why do you think that Christ appeared to Peter first on Easter Sunday? “So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” ( Luke 24:33-34) I believe that Christ knew the sorrow that was in Peter’s heart and this act of mercy was one of reconciliation. Peter’s relief and gratitude was the same we experience today when we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The story of the “Prodigal Son” is a story of a rebellious son who squanders his inheritance and ends up living in squalor and hunger. Knowing his father and how he treated his servants, he decides to return and ask his father’s forgiveness and throw himself upon his father’s mercy. Here again we see that the prodigal son knew his father and his father’s mercy. And what does the father do after the son and he are reconciled? “His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast,” (Luke 15:21-23)
In every case we see that the receivers of mercy knew their benefactor and repented, those that did not, suffered. Their suffering was because they did not know that mercy was available: In other words, they had no one in whom to hope. Each of us has a free will and God will not interfere with our choice. We can choose to know the Father and seek Him in his love letters or wallow in ignorance of His love and mercy. The choice is ours. The Father writes boldly with works and not words. The story of His works are written in Sacred Scripture. Know the Father by studying Sacred Scripture and know His Mercy.
How many times does the word “mercy” occur in Sacred Scripture? In Part 2, we’ll show you (you will be shocked)!