Out of the ten synonyms of “mercy” cited in the Thesaurus, three words struck me: compassion, forgiveness, and sympathy. From these synonyms, how do we practice mercy in our daily encounters with our family, friends or strangers? When we encounter a homeless person, do we show contempt because the person does not meet our standards of being “human” or compassion, by going out of our way to offer money or food? When a loved one hurts us intentionally, do we easily accept the person’s request for reconciliation, or do we hold the person in contempt and continue to let bitterness rule our heart and mind? When an acquaintance or co-worker encounters a trial in life, do we reach out with compassion; or do we simply ignore what happened, thinking and even judging, that it was his fault and that he is deserving of such a fate.
How do we measure ourselves against these instructions from our Lord? How do we keep our thoughts clean and pure so that we avoid judging others and show compassion and support instead? When the grades on our children’s report cards do not meet our measure or standards, do we immediately express our dismay and show a demeaning attitude instead of providing them with a positive encouragement that builds confidence for them to do better? Indeed, cultivating compassion, forgiveness and sympathy requires a conscious effort of setting aside our own self-righteousness and pride.
“Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap” (Lk 6:38a). Reflecting on this verse, do we sometimes wonder why others are more blessed when we feel that we are more deserving because of our superior charitable works and prayers? Is this self-righteous mentality hindering us from being generous and merciful? How do we let go of this pride and simply share our blessings without hesitation and need for appreciation and recognition?
“For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you” (Lk 6:38b). Yes, let us remember these words of wisdom: We are equal in God’s eyes and as His children, let us live harmoniously through forgiveness and mercy, and accept each other’s shortcomings with understanding and compassion.