“Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.” We say these words right at the beginning of Mass as an act of penance. They prepare us for what we are about to receive, Christ himself. Such a simple response for something so big.
You would think with all the human, sinful stuff we do all week, we would need to do a lot more to receive such a gift. How can this be enough? When I think about it, God really doesn’t ask that much of us to receive God’s self. God doesn’t ask anything. It is our free choice. We only need to be open to it. It is like a jumping in. You know that feeling of jumping in the water and being completely immersed? We just have to jump into God’s mercy, and God’s mercy is right there…where it always is. “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.”
I am fascinated with mercy lately. How freely it is offered and how difficult it is for us to receive, even from each other. We all want mercy: Everything is going to be alright. You are completely wonderful just as you are. It’s OK. And God freely gives it. From Scripture, we see God giving it when people aren’t even sorry for their wrongs. Paul tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8). Yet, we hold onto our wrongs, so fearful, like a child waiting for her father to come home after misbehaving with mom. How free to love and mercy would we be if we only opened to it, jumped into it?
A few years ago, I was in a car accident that totaled our car. It was completely my fault. I was lost, let myself get flustered and went through an intersection. I quickly pulled over and got the kids out of the car to be sure everyone was safe (We were.). When I got us to the sidewalk, I said, “We’re OK, I can’t believe it, we’re OK.” A man walked by us and replied, “Of course you are! You have a loving God!” I was dumbfounded. Or maybe still in shock? I just caused an accident, put my kids at risk, and God loves me anyway? How can that be possible? But he was right. And it’s true. “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.” I only had to jump into the mercy.
The mercy of God’s lake is wide and deep enough for all of us. Won’t you jump in?