17 August 2006

Mercy -- Even for Those Who Insult You

Many church fathers, commentators, preachers--both within the boundaries of the holy Church and outside those boundaries--have maintained that the Lord's commandments to "love one another" and "love your enemies" and "be merciful" may be difficult, but they are not impossibe. For Our Lord does not demand the impossible. But He does require that we submerge our passions of anger, hatred, grudge-bearing, and refusal to forgive and instead embrace all men--especially those who have insulted us or wronged us or treated us ungratefully, unkindly, or unlovingly.

And to show us both that this is not an impossible demand, and that He can and will live His love in and through us, Our Lord leaves us an example when He enters the holy temple during His last month. To be sure, Our Lord drives out those who "buy and sell." But observe the mercy, as drawn forth by St Gregory the Great.

There is no doubt that those who resided in the temple to receive gifts sought to do harm to those who did not give anything. The house of prayer had become a robbers’ den because it was known that those assisting in the temple were there either to do physical harm to those who did not offer gifts, or to inflict spiritual death on those who did. But our Redeemer does not take His preaching away from those who are unworthy and ungrateful. After demonstrating the power of His discipline by driving out those in error, He straightway showed the gift of His grace. [For] He was teaching daily in the temple.


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