FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2016
LOVING GOD AND NEIGHBOR
October 3, 2016
The Year of Mercy is about to end, but God’s mercy never ends. Indeed, “gracious and merciful is the Lord.” (Ps 111:4b). He is merciful as He does not impose the bad (punishment) that we deserve (for our transgressions), and he is gracious as He bestows the good that we do not deserve.
God does not change, even as we are ever changing, in our relationship with Him. We are truly fortunate that “he remembers his covenant forever.” (Ps 111:5b). He is reliable and steadfast, even as we are unreliable and blow hot and cold in our commitment to Him.
Isn’t it about time that we lived out our own commitment to God? Dare we continue to take advantage of His mercy, but not respond in a way that is suitable and just? What is our proper response? It is to turn our lives over to Him. It is to “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Lk 10:27a).
But mercy is not just about receiving such goodness from God, but also about being instruments of such goodness to others. You not only love God with your all, but you love “your neighbor as yourself.” (Lk 10:27b). In this regard, Jesus gave us the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:30-35). We are neighbors to each other. We are our brothers’ keepers.
How did the good Samaritan show mercy? He ministered to his enemy. He was a Samaritan and the victim was a Jew. Even the priest and the Levite did not assist their own countryman (Lk 10:31-32). But the Samaritan not only helped the victim, he went out of his way to help. He interrupted his journey. He administered first-aid, took him to an inn to be cared for, spent his money, and would return to see how the victim was doing (Lk 10:34-35). He treated the man with the care and love he would have done for himself.
That is mercy. That is how God deals with us. That is how we are to deal with each other. To live out the greatest commandment is to love God whose mercy abounds, and to act as neighbor to others. Jesus concluded his teaching. “Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim? He answered, ‘The one who treated him with mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’” (Lk 10:36-37).
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