The Scandal Of God’s Boundless Mercy

2022년 9월 11일

The Scandal Of God’s Boundless Mercy

< Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time  >

 How is it that very religious people were so scandalized by Jesus and his teaching that they not only wanted him dead, but crucified? What did Jesus do or say that so angered the religious leaders that they couldn’t put up with him? You might think it’s because Jesus claimed to be God, but if someone claims to be God, we don’t kill them. We put them in a mental hospital. Most of Jesus’ teachings are very beautiful and inspiring. Now, according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus’ “crime” was when he cleansed the Temple of Jerusalem by throwing out the money changers. In John’s gospel, it was Jesus’ raising Lazarus from the dead that angered the religious leaders. What do these two incidents have in common? They both demonstrated the great mercy of God.

The reason Jesus threw the money-changers out of the Temple was because the Sadducees had turned the outer courtyard where the Gentiles (nonJews) could pray into a market place for sacrificial animals. Jesus showed that God loves the Gentiles as much as God loved the Jews. It was because Jesus continually revealed God’s mercy toward people considered less worthy that the religious leaders had to have him killed. All of Jesus’ teaching revealed how merciful God was toward the underserving: sinners, tax collectors, foreigners etc. Of course, the parable of the Prodigal Son shows how merciful God is, even to the underserving younger son. And the ultimate sign of God’s mercy towards us, the most undeserving of sinners, is the death of Jesus on the cross. And the best way to demonstrate our gratitude for being forgiven is to be forgiving and merciful towards everyone we meet.