Those Who are Well do not Need a Physician

September 21 is the feast of Saint Matthew, the Apostle and Evangelist. I love this scripture verse from the day’s Gospel reading:

“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
Matthew 9:12-13

These are some of the most consoling verses in the bible!

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If you are feeling low, if you struggle with sinful habits, do not be discouraged. Jesus came just for you. He gave the Church to you – to sinners.

If you are perfect (or think you are) then you won’t need Jesus. But, by recognizing your sin, Jesus is able to heal you and give you His mercy. Jesus desires mercy. You will not find judgement in Jesus. In Jesus you will find love, acceptance, mercy, forgiveness, and healing.

So, soak up today’s scripture verse. Let it penetrate your heart and soul. Memorize it. Always remember: Jesus IS mercy itself.

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Psst: Just a reminder, From now until September 30, 50% of all journals and 30% of all services will be donated to help the victims of the recent natural disasters. This is your chance to grow your spiritual life while helping your brothers and sisters in need. See, it’s a win-win. ๐Ÿ™‚

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 14 is the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. I think the following scripture (the 2nd reading from the feast day’s mass) from Philippians 2:6-11 sums up this feast perfectly:

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Though He was in the From of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at.

Rather, He took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.

He was known to be of human estate, and it was thus that He humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross!

Because of this, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name above every other name,

So that at Jesus’ name every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father:

JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!

I cannot even begin to fathom the awesomeness of God’s mercy in giving us His son, Jesus, to suffer, die and rise for our salvation. It is simply mind-boggling. What an amazing love God has for us! What lengths He went to in order to assure our place in heaven and to bring us into relationship with Him!

May we today, and every day, remember that great love, especially when we go through struggles and difficulties. There is no suffering that we go through that will compare to the sufferings of Jesus. He knows the feelings of desolation, despair, and agony. And because of that, He is able to assist us and be with us in our suffering. Let us try to live in trust and hope knowing God will always be there for us!

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Mercy Bible Study: Session 6 Readings

Almost there! We are finally entering session 6 which is the last session in the book. This book/bible study has been so enriching, challenging and stretching for me and I hope it was to you. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mercy Bible Study: Session 6 Readings

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This chapter is small, especially in comparison to some of the other chapters. The pages we are reading for July in chapter six are 109-118.

The bible readings are

Daniel 4:19-37

Sirach 1:12

Sirach 1:18

Sirach 1:14

Psalm 111:10

Proverb 1:7

Sirach 2:7, 10-11

Luke 6:36

Sirach 28:4-6

Matthew 5:7

Matthew 23:13-36

Luke 10:25-37

Luke 16:19-31

As always, don’t worry too much about reading every reading. You can also “group read” some of the readings such as reading all the verses from Sirach, all the verses from Luke, etc.

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Mercy Bible Study: Session 5 Reflection

Session five was another long chapter that gave us a lot to think about, didn’t it? And I have to confess, I took my own advice and didn’t finish reading through all the scripture readings. Most of them were related and I was able to get the gist of what Father Pacwa was trying to get across to his readers. Here are my thoughts.

Mercy Bible Study: Session 5 Reflection

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I decided to focus on question two from the discussion questions at the back of the chapter. The question is “Think of the people who were angry at Jesus for having driven out a demon and causing a herd of pigs to be killed. have you ever found yourself feeling like someone didn’t deserve God’s mercy? What about a murderer who repents at the last minute” (pg 107)? This discussion question is the type that goes right for the heart!

The first example of Jesus driving out a demon comes from Matthew 17:14-18 when Jesus heals the boy with epileptic seizures. The second examples comes from Mark 5:1-20 when Jesus casts out the demon named “Legion” and into the pigs. In both cases, the reactions are different than one would expect. With the boy, Jesus is criticized, and with the pigs, the people are frightened. In both cases, they don’t think the persons Jesus healed were worthy.

And the end question really hits home, sadly. I have felt at times that someone didn’t deserve God’s mercy but it isn’t the “murderer who repents at the last minute.” That person is “out there” and it isn’t hard to imagine God having mercy on him/her. It is the person that has hurt me personally that I sometimes have difficulty wishing for God’s mercy on him/her. How about you?

During much of my school years I was bullied. I have cerebral palsy that affected the way I walked, I was quiet and shy, and it was hard for me to fit in with other kids. During my high school years, there were times when I was picked on (especially by one person in particular) and I can guarantee you that I did not wish mercy for that person (from God or anyone else!). I have since forgiven everyone who has bullied me and have moved on; however, in the past, I probably would have criticized Jesus myself if He had mercy on that person!

Even as an adult, when I am wronged – be it real or imagined – I struggle with not having negative, almost revengeful thoughts. Is it pride? Probably. I know in my heart we are to love everyone even our “enemies.” But, as humans, it can be difficult to look past the hurt and see that person as God sees that person. And, therein lies the challenge, right?! Or, am I the only one who struggles with this?

Jesus has given us the commandment and the example to love others and to have mercy on them, as He does. Just because the task is difficult doesn’t mean we are off the hook. He says, “the measure that we measure with will be measured back to us” (see Luke 6:38) and that can be a sobering thought if we (I am) are not measuring with mercy.

Like I wrote, there is a lot to think about in this chapter! What about you? What struck you or challenged you in this session? Do share in the comments.

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Mercy Bible Study: Session 4 Reflection

Did you make it through all the readings for this session. There were a lot, right?! I many of the readings but I wasn’t able to finish them all. It was okay because, as you may have noticed, it was easy to get the gist of the themes.

Mercy Bible Study: Session 4 Reflection

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I have to be honest and admit that this session was a little dry and difficult to get through. However, my biggest takeaway from this session was the reminder of God’s faithfulness. Father Pacwa writes:

“In fact, the reason he shows the people mercy is because he remains faithful to the covenantal relationship, even when they become unfaithful” (75).

No matter what we have done or do, God remains faithful. So often, we turn away from God and sin. We live as if He doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter. Still, His love is constant and continual. He gently tries to get our attention and showers us with graces but they often go unrecognized.

Thankfully, He is always ready to take us back the second we turn to Him. This is a sign of His great mercy. There may be consequences for our actions but God does not punish or turn away from us. He accepts and loves us just as we are, with all our faults and foibles. God remains steadfast and faithful and we can put our trust in that!

What is your biggest takeaway from the lesson? Did you find it dry and difficult to work through? Why or why not?

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Mercy Bible Study: Session 4 Readings

Well, with all the drama of April, I wasn’t able to get my reflection for April written. I am happy that I was able to pray through the bible study on my own but I didn’t have any computer time the last couple of weeks. However, since this is the year of mercy, and the bible study is on mercy, I am going to have mercy on myself and let April go. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mercy Bible Study: Session 4 Readings

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Session 4 is rather long, pages 69-90, and the scripture verses are as follows:

Exodus 20:1-17

Exodus 25:10-26:37

Deuteronomy 27:1-10

Exodus 21-23; 34

Deuteronomy 12-26

Deuteronomy 27-28

Deuteronomy 31:9-13

Joshua 8:34-35

2 Kings 23:1-3

Nehemiah 8

Genesis 9

Genesis 12:1-3

Genesis 15:1-19

2 Samuel 7

Exodus 19:5-6

Exodus 23:22-23

Leviticus 26

Numbers 14: 6-9

Deuteronomy 8:19-20

Deuteronomy 11:13-32

Exodus 33:19

Hosea 2:16-20

Jeremiah 33:25-26

Isaiah 63:7-64:11

Daniel 9:1-19

Sirach 16:24-18:14

There are A LOT of readings for this session and many of the readings themselves are also long; however, as always, read what you can. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of reading. If you don’t get it all done, no big deal!

To make it easier, so you don’t have to keep coming back to this web page or looking into the book, here is a printable list of the readings (no opt-in required).

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Mercy Bible Study: Session 2 Readings

Happy leap day! Gotta love February 29th. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyhow, to recap on the mercy bible study: in January we focused on the introduction, in February, for session one, we focused on human mercy and its correlation to forgiveness, and now we are heading into session two.

Mercy Bible Study Session 2 Readings

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For March, we will read pages 33-45 which will lead us in praying and learning about what it means to withhold and grant mercy. These are the scripture verses to pray over this month:

Joshua 11:1-20

Wisdom 11:1-10

Isaiah 13-23

Jeremiah 1-6

Isaiah 47:7-11

Jeremiah 42:1-10

Nehemiah 1:1-2:8

Remember, don’t try to do all the readings at once. There are 31 days in March so take your time! It is better to go deeper into a few of the scriptures than to rush through all of them. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you can, take notes. I can’t wait to see what session 2 has in store for us.

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Mercy Bible Study: Session 1 Reflection

How did you make out with the readings? Interesting, right?! This is going to be a great study!

Mercy Bible Study Session 1 Reflection

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In Session One, Fr. Mitch focuses on “human mercy” and broke each section down loosely based on three types of mercy: Wicked people whose mercy is really cruelty or merciless, so-called religious people whose mercy is selective (they will not forgive the “great sinners”), and the fact that people do not stay faithful to their commitment to principles, thus showing that God’s mercy is far greater than human mercy.

In writing about the wicked people who do not show mercy, Father points out the interconnection between mercy and forgiveness. You can not have one without the other. He uses scripture, especially Matthew 6:12-15. Father reminds us of Jesus’ words, “Forgive the wrongs done to you by a neighbor and your sins will be forgiven” (Pacwa, 22).

Next, Father Mitch goes on to relate healing with mercy and then finally he writes about how God’s mercy is infinitely more real and superior to human mercy. However, for this reflection, I want to focus on the aspect of forgiveness because it is something we (I) struggle with.

At the end of the chapter, one of the discussion questions is “What is the relationship of forgiveness to mercy? (pg 30)? Of course, when we read the chapter, we learn that the relationship between the two is everything. You can not have forgiveness without mercy and you can not have mercy without forgiveness. (Tweet This)

And yet, forgiveness can be SO HARD. When people hurt us (especially when we think the person hurt us on purpose), the last thing we think about is forgiving them. At least, not I! I grumble, nurse my wounds, and sometimes even wish revenge on the person. And yet, Jesus commands us to forgive, to show mercy. If we wish gain forgiveness we most offer forgiveness.

I guess, for some of us, our pride blinds us to the fact that we are sinners, too. We hurt people, either knowingly or unknowingly. We are in no position to judge or hold back forgiveness from others. Thus, is our mission in this year of mercy.

This chapter has challenged me. It has pushed me to remember my failings and to be more compassionate and merciful to those who most need it. What about you? What are your thoughts about the correlation between forgiveness and mercy? Was there something else in the chapter that struck a chord with you? Do share!

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You can’t have mercy without forgiveness or forgiveness without mercy

Join the Lenten Mercy Challenge!

Lyn Mettler, on behalf of MyConsecration.org, sent me the following invitation:

Lenten Mercy Challenge

I wanted to invite you to participate in MyConsecration.org’s #LentenMercyChallenge beginning this Friday, Feb. 12. In an effort to demonstrate the power of prayer paired with fasting, MyConsecration, which is dedicated to promoting Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, is challenging Catholics to pray 1 decade of the rosary and fast on bread and water for lunch every Friday during Lent. These efforts may be offered up for a specific intention as an act of mercy.

This is a wonderful, wonderful idea and I want to pass the opportunity on to you. Personally, I will be following a stricter fasts on Fridays for Lent this year but I will definitely be adding on the extra decade of the rosary to my Fridays.

If you are looking for ways to fast and pray more this Lent the #LentenMercyChallenge (which starts TODAY) may be perfect for you. Go here to find out more and to sign up for the challenge.

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Mercy Bible Study: Sesson One Readings

As I mentioned last month, I am blogging through my bible study using the study guide Mercy by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. In January we read the introduction and reflected on the connection between Divine Mercy and the Sacred Heart of Mercy.

Mercy Bible Study: Session 1 Readings


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Now, for February we begin to delve into the bible study and read pages 19 through 31. There are also several scripture verses to read and “investigate”:

Sirach 28:1-2

Matthew 6:12-15

Mark 11:25

Luke 17:3

Ephesians 4:32

Colossians 3:12-13

Sirach 28:3-5

Sirach 28:6

Matthew 18:21-35

Matthew 9:9-11

Matthew 9:12-13

Sirach 2:1-18

Don’t be intimidated by the number of passages to read. Many of the verses are very short with only one verse to read. Just take your time. If you read one passage a day you will get through them in 13 days. Toward the end of the month I will post any reflections or insights I discover.

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