The Roamin' Roman

Benvenuto! You have happened upon the blog of a wandering Catholic American college student studying for a year in Rome, the Eternal City. You will find here my pontifications, ruminations, reflections, images, and ponderings on my life in Rome. Ciao!

Sunday, March 19

Monday of the 2nd Week of Lent - Station Church - San Clemente. This was a special one for us here at the house, as (due to the NAC having its seminary evaluation/visitation) Fr. Carola was the main celebrant/homilist and we were the choir and collection takers!

Fr. Carola's homily (posted with permission):

A. M. D. G.
Father Joseph Carola, S.J.
Sermon for the Second Monday of Lent
The Church of San Clemente, Rome
13 March 2006
Readings: Daniel 9:4-10; Luke 6:36-38

"Be merciful," Jesus exhorts His disciples, "just as also your Father is merciful." But in what does divine mercy consist? Daniel confesses that the Lord God keeps His "merciful covenant toward those who love [Him] and observe [His] commandments." Such mercy reveals God’s justice. But has God mercy for those who rebel and pay no heed to His commands? On their behalf Daniel appeals to God’s compassion and forgiveness. The Crucified Christ incarnates the divine response. God’s forgiving love, Pope Benedict instructs, "is so great that it turns God against himself, his love against his justice...[B]y becoming man [God] follows him even into death, and so reconciles justice and love" (Deus Caritas Est 10). Such is the Father’s mercy. He did not even spare His own Son in order to reconcile us to Himself (cf. Romans 8:32).

Hoping to bring an end to their present plight under the Greek King Antiochus, the prophet Daniel prayerfully confesses Israel’s transgressions. In answer to his plea, "Gabriel, the one whom [he had] seen before in vision, [comes to him] in rapid flight at the time of the evening sacrifice" (Daniel 9:21). Gabriel announces the end of sin and the expiation of guilt. "Everlasting justice will be introduced," the Archangel proclaims, "vision and prophecy ratified, and a most holy will be anointed" (Daniel 9:24). The Church Fathers rightly understood Gabriel to herald Christ’s coming. Indeed, sometime later Gabriel comes again "to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David" (Luke 1:27). Uttering Her fiat Mary conceives the Father’s Mercy. While God justly insists that the disobedient "shall not enter into his rest" (Psalm 95:11), the Incarnate Word fully reveals the Father’s will to reconcile the sinner. For Mercy Crucified assures the penitent: "Today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). Behold how God turns against Himself, His love against His justice. Justly withholding His rest from those who reject it, He, nonetheless, showers the sinner with His love in order by mercy to draw him through repentance into His peace. To be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful, then, is to imitate Christ Crucified. Wounded, nailed to the Cross, Jesus never ceases to love. Wounded Love pardons those who have wounded Him. "Father, forgive them," Jesus prays, "they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

Jesus exhorts us, and indeed commands us, to love one another as He has loved us. The Cross reveals the summit of His love. To enable our love Jesus pours forth His Spirit into our hearts (cf. Romans 5:5). Sadly, however, personal sin limits our love. But such sin when contritely confessed paradoxically aids our charitable quest. Recall that, when challenged to self-examination, none among the crowd before whom the adulteress quaked could cast the first stone (cf. John 8:7,9). The depth of their need became the measure of their mercy. In a similar fashion Jesus has taught us in both word and deed to beseech the Father to forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. Forgiving His executioners Jesus called down the Father’s mercy upon Himself, the Sinless One who bore our guilt. Thus in Christ Jesus the Father forgives man as man forgives those who trespass against Him. Wounded Love forgives, and we stand forgiven. The urgent call to forgive arises from our own sinfulness. The depth of our need marks the measure of our mercy. We are called to show mercy toward others as the Father has shown us mercy in Christ Jesus Our Crucifed Lord.


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