The Scandal of God’s Mercy

2023년 4월 16일

The Scandal of God’s Mercy

< 2nd Sunday of Easter, Sunday of the Divine Mercy >

 Nowadays astrophysicists (scientists who study the universe) are allowing for the possibility that God exists.  After all, recent telescopes have revealed astounding and beautiful galaxies and stars. What’s more, human ability to see, study and appreciate the universe is itself a wonderful mystery. Certainly Creation makes more sense if there is a Creator. So, belief in a Supreme Being seems logical. The difficulty comes when we religious people believe God not only exists but is merciful. Our everyday experiences seem to deny this.

God has been merciful to me. I was supposed to be on Korean Airlines Flight 007 on September 1, 1983 going from New York City to Seoul. As you know, it never arrived. The Soviet Union shot it down killing everyone on board. But I survived because I changed my ticket to Northwest. Why? Because the Korean flight took off after midnight and traveled in the dark for 17 hours. My prayer group was convinced God spared me. Perhaps. Not to be ungrateful, but surely there were more good and worthy passengers onboard, including children, who deserved God’s mercy more than I. The mercy of God also scandalized me when I was a chaplain at Boston City Hospital. One day I got into the elevator with a nurse holding a newborn baby who’d just been operated on for a brain tumor. The baby opened it mouth to cry but no sound came out. The only life that baby knew was unbearable pain. I wrestled with that thought: where is Gods mercy here? Then I saw it. God’s mercy was there in that nurse, gently rocking that baby in her arms. I realized then that suffering will always be with us, but perhaps God made us aware of that suffering so that we might be the mercy of God.