Mercy is Reaching Out
November 29: Monday of the First Week of Advent, Year C2
Romans 10:9-18; Matthew 4:18-22
When I was a missionary in Chad, I once gave one of my catechists a blanket. Later, he complained that a tribe member visiting his house had taken it.
“You know who took it”, I said. “Make him give it back.”
“Oh, no. He is a brother. I would be ostracized.”
I asked myself, “Why are we evangelizing them? They could teach us!”
Jesus told us to give to everyone who begs from us and not to refuse anyone who wants to borrow (Matthew 5:42). Among the Ngamas, that is a binding tribal custom.
I realized that it is also a law of survival. In their economy, if a family’s field gets flooded, the community must share with them or they will die. Without sharing, the tribe will die.
Then I realized that most Ngamas didn’t go looking for those in need. They shared when they had to, and then only with fellow tribe members.
Mercy means to help others out of a sense of relationship. For Christians, Jesus expands relationship to embrace the whole world: “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all.” God wants all to be his children; God wants all to help all as brothers and sisters.
Jesus himself came “to seek out and to save the lost.” He sent out his disciples to be “fishers of men.” Mercy makes us missionaries.
Daily Practice: Don’t wait. Seek out and serve those in need.
Advent Prayer: Lord, teach me mercy.