Mercy is Noticing
December 1: Wednesday of the First Week of Advent, Year C2
Isaiah 25:6-10a; Matthew 15:29-37
During a retreat for teenagers, the last boy to go through the cafeteria line found all the tables full. He sat at a new table by himself. The director noticed and said to me, “We are failing. If they had understood anything we said, someone would have got up and sat with that boy.”
That would have been mercy. Remember that mercy means to come to the aid of another out of a sense of relationship. Where relationship is conscious, needs are met. Where relationship is absent, needs aren’t even noticed. The merciful are those who notice - because they have “compassion,” “co-feeling” for those with whom they are bonded.
Jesus didn’t just cure “the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others.” When they followed him into the desert, he said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they... have nothing to eat.” He noticed their need. But he didn’t feed them until others had mercy by sharing the little they had, which Jesus multiplied.
God’s image of heaven is a feast where all are together in unity and love. “Mercy” is to work for that on earth. It begins when we notice who is excluded.
Daily Practice: Look around you. Notice what—and who—is missing.
Advent Prayer: Lord, open my eyes.