Posted on: 2016-01-18
Source: Rev. Fr. PeterPaul A. Akinola

The last time dearly beloved in Christ, we looked at Mercy as a divine attribute and we were able to situate that the mercy of God is so abundant that it can never be exhausted. We established that it is only in God that mercy and just par excellence can coexist since God's type of justice is distributive rather than commutative. Lastly, we concluded that the very act of our creation is a proof of God's love and our redemption, a proof of His mercy.

Today, we shall be looking at our need to dispense ourselves to the mercy of God. Firstly, we must be aware that the abundance of a commodity does not translate to everybody benefitting of the same. This can be used to explain the change in "for you and for all/for you and for many" in the Eucharistic prayers of the Church.

Man must recognize that he is limited - Before any other thing, we must recognize our humanity and limitedness before God. It is very true that God made us in His image (cf. Gen 1:26-27) but we must also not fail to see an important truth that is contained therein in a subtle manner, that is, before the creation, the intention was to create a similarity in Image and Likeness, however, the post creation commentary only make reference to the image(cf. Gen 1:26-27)! It is left to man to seek likeness with God. The only way to become like God is by asking for His mercy, that through the same He may continually reveal Himself to us (cf. Matt 11:27).

In the history of man, many have sought to become like God without seeking His mercy and this has left them worse than their initial condition, as they cast themselves into the abyss of sin! In the narrative of the fall of man, one of the reasons why the woman eat of the forbidden fruit is that she may be like God (cf. Gen 3:5), the same is true of Babel (Gen 11:4). What the scriptures require of us in our search to be like God is to go to God Himself and seek His mercy.

We are sinners: In our inordinate search to become like God, we sin! Our Catechism teaches us that Sin is any act of disobedience to God, and the effect of sin includes the fact that it (1) Isolates us: Sin is like leprosy, it isolates us from God and from our fellow men (cf. Prov 28:1, Gen 3:9-10). The scripture says of the prodigal son that he went to a very far country (cf. Lk 15:13). Think of the many times you have hidden from God because of sin, that you have been running without any one pursuing and you have moved very far from your family, all because of sin. (2) Makes us lose our dignity: in another dimension, sin deprives us of our God-given dignity - the dignity of sonship by which we are in charge of all that God has put under us. Instead, sin de-robes us, it makes us hide away in shame (cf. Gen 3:10, Jn 4:6-8). Note that in these two instances, the sinner tends to hide away but God constantly seek us, even in sin! The prodigal son had his cloth immediately changed because what he had on was not dignifying (Arole Re ni mo je o Baba da mi lohun (2x) Bi ko se ye f'omo alapata, ko maa rahun eran, ko am ye f'emi omo Re o, ki n ma a rahun ohun rere) (3) Makes us lose our authority: God gave His authority unto man after creation by His blessings (Gen 1:28-30), however, through sin the devil seeks to steal away from us this great gift of God. He makes us lose our authority and as such we become afraid even to ask (cf. Matt 7:7) not to talk of commanding in the name of God (cf. Matt 17:20-21). It was for this reason that the father of the prodigal son asked that he be given a ring - a sign of authority.

We also might have lost all these and thus we need to ask mercy of the Lord (cf. Ps 51:1). The Lord is ever awaiting our return to Him in order to have mercy on us (cf. Jer 31:20-22, Matt 15:22). Are we watchful enough to see our need for His mercy?