16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 23, 2017)

In today’s readings we are reminded how God’s justice and mercy work together to care for the human family. St. Francis de Sales notes:

God is Goodness itself. This infinite goodness of God has two hands: one is mercy, the other is justice. Justice and mercy can only thrive where there is goodness. God uses mercy to have us embrace what is good. Justice uproots whatever prevents us from experiencing the effects of God’s goodness. It makes us shun evil.

Those who have a true desire to serve our Lord and flee from evil should not torment themselves with the thought of death or divine judgment. The holy fear of those who love God is a filial reverence for God. They fear displeasing God simply because God is their most kind and loving father. A good child does not obey his father because of his power to punish or disinherit him, but simply because he is his loving and caring father. Holy fear strengthens our human spirit. It is full of confidence in the goodness of God. God’s mercy, seeing that we are clothed in “flesh, a wind” that comes and goes, never casts us into total ruin. Our Savior’s infinite mercy always bends towards us.

When sinners are most hardened in sin and are living as if there is no God, it is then that our Savior allows them to find His heart full of pity and kind mercy towards them. David, though he offended God, was always nourished in the Heart of leniency and divine mercy. Let us reflect how from eternity God’s goodness tenderly cherished us and provided for us all the means to progress in sacred love. Now God provides us the opportunity to do the good that presents itself and to persevere in the present trial that is upon us. The greatness of God’s mercy shines forth in the awe-inspiring deeds of Jesus. What a great reason to anchor our hope and confidence completely in God’s mercy!

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales)