Let our judgment of souls cease, for God's mercy upon them is extraordinary. --St Faustina
Scripture Text: Jude 17, 20B-25
Beloved, remember the words spoken beforehand
by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit.
Keep yourselves in the love of God
and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ
that leads to eternal life.
On those who waver, have mercy;
save others by snatching them out of the fire;
on others have mercy with fear,
abhorring even the outer garment stained by the flesh.
To the one who is able to keep you from stumbling
and to present you unblemished and exultant,
in the presence of his glory,
to the only God, our savior,
through Jesus Christ our Lord
be glory, majesty, power, and authority
from ages past, now, and for ages to come. Amen.
It’s often said that everyone is out for himself. For capitalism to thrive, compassion must yield to a relentless pursuit of one’s own interest. But not to fear: greed makes the community prosper. Let the great scramble begin! People will work like crazy to come out ahead. The most ruthless are those that enlarge the pie for the rest. Some facetiously suggest that to beat the competition, hire a psychopath to run things. Greed is the new virtue while altruism is a sweet thought with no traction.
After the recent financial upheaval that destroyed savings, jobs, and lives, we may wonder about the gospel of greed. Does any human endeavor prosper under a regime of self-interest? Even corporations require trust and cooperation to reach their goals. Markets can’t function without rules of fair play. Only when people are cynically manipulated does their readiness to sacrifice dry up. Maybe the invisible hand of Adam Smith is invisible because it just isn’t there.
Cynicism paints the world from a distance. Jesus enters the human scene up close. No one reaches their goals without lots of help. Sooner or later, each needs a second or third chance or more. Father Zossima, in Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, insists that we are never alone, even when carrying guilt for crimes. The hard times can be endured because we are in it together. Greater than money is the gift of being known and standing together in solidarity.
Mercy is life’s oxygen.