"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
Jesus issues a tall order as He starts today's Gospel. Be as merciful as God. Wow.
But His order comes with guidelines on how we can do a better job of being the disciples He calls us to be. We are instructed today to stop judging, stop condemning, to be giving and forgiving. Those first two are something I think we all struggle with. We pass judgment on those around us without hesitation, assuming based off of clothing or behavior that person is this or that. We condemn those around us because they do not believe or practice their faith as we do. But Jesus reminds us today that it is not our place to judge or condemn; we are called to be giving and forgiving. We are even given a clear incentive to do those things! We will be forgiven as much as we forgive and given as much as we give.
The measure we use for those in our lives will be the one God uses for us.
When we cannot forgive, that reduction of forgiveness is also extended to us.
When we cannot find it our hearts to give, less will be given to us.
But a measure the is overflowing with forgiveness will be poured into our laps if it is the same we one we use for our brothers and sisters!
Our call from today's Gospel is a call to magnify what we already do. We pray today for the grace to do more with our lives; that we will be able to abstain from passing judgment or condemnation onto others in our lives, because it is not our place to do so. We also pray that we will find the grace to be give more. More of our time, our treasures, and our talents. Often, we have plenty to give and just need the grace to encourage our souls.
Pray for grace, fast from judgment, give more.