17 September, Thursday — Measures of Love

Sep 17 – Memorial for St. Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor

St. Robert (1542-1621) wrote the most complete work of his day to defend Catholicism against Protestant attack. He also wrote a children’s catechism and a catechism for teachers. As cardinal-priest, he gave most of his money to the poor. At one point he used the tapestries in his living quarters to clothe the poor, saying that “the walls won’t catch cold”.

He was involved in settling various disputes, including that of King James I and the Vatican in 1607 and 1609, concerning control of the Church in England, action against Galileo Galilei with whom he established a friendly correspondence, but was forced to deliver the order for the scientist to submit to the Church, and issues concerning clerical discipline and Vatican authority. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 17 September 1931.

  • Patron Saint Index

1 Cor 15:1-11
Lk 7:36-50

“…her many sins, must have been forgiven her, or she would not have shown such great love. It is the man who is forgiven little who shows little love.”

The readings today are so encouraging in many ways. The first reading from a letter from Paul to the Corinthians — although Paul is counted as one of the leading disciples, he believed he hardly deserved to be called a disciple as he persecuted the Church prior to his conversion. Paul was very good at his job, very prolific in arresting and persecuting the early Christians prior to his encounter of Christ.  With all the hostilities and injuries caused, our Lord Jesus still saw Paul as a perfect fit for His divine mission. Jesus viewed him with Godly insight and not with limited human perception. How many of us would be willing to give someone a second, third, fourth, tenth, a hundredth chance when they have caused us injuries? I can honestly say that I mostly likely would not. In fact, I probably would write them off as ‘persona non grata’. Thank God that our Lord is merciful and doesn’t give up on us.  His grace can even change the most hard-hearted.    

This brings me to another point that I have often pondered about. How can God keep forgiving us, when we wouldn’t even forgive ourselves at times. Because of His great love, His immeasurable love. It isn’t love without justice, but a righteous and merciful love. When we are truly repentant of our sins, God is always ready to welcome us back into His arms and give us meaning. The Gospel reading is very clear in how God’s reaction is very different from ours, but makes so much sense. We don’t know what the woman has done but assume that it was really sinful. However, she recognized her iniquities and was deeply sorrowful over them, truly repentant of her erroneous ways. She was forgiven. Just like Paul was forgiven his persecution of the early Church, which was probably a grave sin; God forgave them both and provided them with so much grace, that one of them became a faithful disciple and a leader in evangelization.

God works in wonderful ways. Where we tend to dismiss someone or something, God sees potential. When we feel defeated or aimless, God provides strength and meaning. When we are broken, God heals. He is indeed merciful.  

(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)

Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray that you grant us the grace to recognize our sins and to be truly repentant of them, so that we obtain forgiveness and become a new creation.

Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank you for Your righteous love and immeasurable mercy, and for not giving up on us.

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