God our Father in heaven, who is abundant in mercy and love, can also be the cause of much hindrance and fear in the human heart. This is because we fear ideals; but if we were to know the reality if our hearts we would feel something so far from trembling fear - instead we would find ourselves overpowered by peace and love. This is the mercy of God - something that we can hardly comprehend and yet is so real to us.
We fear the ideals of God's justice. This justice is prevalent in the Old Testament but seldom seen in the new. We fear justice because it makes us accountable for our sins. We fear justice because justice makes a reality of who we truly are. We know ourselves, and even in a culture that loves to proclaim "freedom" and loves to ignore sin as a whole, our hearts reveal the truth to us. We know, deep inside, the reality of the human person. We know our bad actions, our sins, have consequences- even if these consequences are loudly ignored by the mass majority.
This is what we fear. Coming to terms with who we are and knowing truly what we deserve. Our fears are not in vain - God's justice is real. But if only we saw God's justice as a gateway to hisgreater mercy.
Looking into history, specifically with Lent approaching, we see God's justice is prevalent - but we would be fools to ignore his mercy. When the Hebrews were slaves to the Egyptians we are tempted to only see God's justice at work. God sends plagues to the Egyptians and then when they still refuse to let his people go, he sends the angel of death to kill every first born. But his mercy is also at work! Those faithful to God are asked to sacrifice a year old, unblemished, male lamb in place of their first born, mark their doorposts with its blood - and eat it. The angel of death passed by these homes.
Although you'd think such a great merciful act like this would cause all humanity to always be faithful to God, right? Unfortunately, we continue to fall short of who God created us to be, in every single generation. But God's mercy never ceases. And he is never outdone in love. He sends his own lamb to suffer and die in place of all of us. Jesus, unblemished and innocent - dies for us, dies for our sins. And every single Mass we consume him. This is the mercy of God. There is nothing to fear in a God who dies and conquers death for his people. If we only could see his tender heart, there on the cross for each of us, we would know there is little to fear. We have only to hope, to love, and to be loved by our Merciful Heavenly Father.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us.
Written by Rachel Mulderink
"Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure." - Saint John Paul II