Fr. Aidan Writes:
“The Gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving. The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales.” This quotation from a very fine English theologian, John Stott, has always appealed to me. Firstly, because it is very succinct and clear, but, also, it is a challenge that I need
to accept almost on a daily basis.
Jesus tells us that he has come to fulfill the commandments, not replace them, and he gives us ideals to live by (Beatitudes, sermons, sayings etc). He does give us one powerful teaching in the Old Testament, “Thou shalt Not”, commandment style, “Judge not that you be not judged”. He also tells us to be “merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful”.
There is a lot of commentary today about how judgmental and uncivil our public, private and internet discourse has become. There is no mercy, no kindness, no quarter to change, no room to grow; everything is being dug in or set in stone. It is ugly. But today we can celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. This second Sunday of Easter helps us focus on the very thing our Lord died and rose for, to offer us God’s mercy. A mercy that is generous beyond our wildest hopes, is love expressed in very tangible terms, is a challenge that, if we accept it, can be transform- ative.
Let us take the inspiration of God’s divine mercy to our hearts and respond in humble recognition of the trans- formative power of the cross rather than being people who, let’s face it, can often judge others. Judging with our fingers resting on one side of the scales, thus offering no chance for truth, justice, mercy and peace to flour- ish.
Let us also offer prayers of peace this weekend as the Orthodox Church celebrates Easter. Kyiv is the primary seat of Orthodox Christianity in North Eastern Europe.
May God bless you, your families, and the week ahead,
Fr Aidan Peter