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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

Mercy Waits

December 15: Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent, Year C2

Isaiah 45:6b-8,18, 21b-25; Luke 7:18b-23

Father Girardon, a wise, experienced spiritual director, taught that when people say they cannot stop committing a sin, we should tell them to keep going to confession and Communion.

“But that’s hypocrisy!” others would say. “To receive absolution, they must intend to stop!”

His quiet answer was: “God doesn’t ask the impossible:’ He understood the mercy of God.

If someone makes the generic statement, “I will go as long as I can without sin”—thinking it might be only five minutes—that’s enough for God. A promise is not a prediction. And every prediction must allow for the unpredictability of God. If we die in four minutes, we kept our promise unto death! Or God might zap us with such grace we never sin again.

In the gospel, the son ordered to work in the vineyard said, “I will not.” But “afterwards he changed his mind and went.” That was God’s mercy.

Zephaniah says God “will change and purify” the people that “hears no voice, and accepts no correction.” so that “all may call upon the name of the LORD, and serve him with one accord.”

Those who know God’s mercy have mercy on the weak. Instead of shouldering sinners aside, they “lend a shoulder” to bring them to Communion. Jesus said, “If you love me, feed my sheep” (see John 21:17). That is mercy.

Daily Practice: Invite sinners to their Father’s table.

Advent Prayer: Lord, teach me to hear the cry of the poor.

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