A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Doing Unto Others

Posted on: July 23, 2015

Have mercy on me
You treat me so bad I’m in misery
It’s breaking my heart, can’t you see
Baby, baby have mercy on me

~ “Have Mercy,” The Judds

The world’s major religions and philosophies feature some version of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” On the Scarboro Missions website, a poster illustrating this truth refers us to Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:12*:

“So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.”

Jesus said these words during his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), when he told us, among other things, to be reconciled to those we’re angry with, to avoid retaliation, and to love our enemies. At that time, he gave us the Our Father, where he taught us to ask that God would “forgive us our trespasses / As we forgive those who trespass against us” (6:12). Jesus also warned us about the consequences of failing to forgive:

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (6:14-15)

We may find it hard to forgive, whether we’re dealing with slights against us (a thoughtless or an unkind comment about our appearance, our hopes, our beliefs, our vocation; the lack of an invite to a social event) or deep hurt caused by a friend, a family member or our spouse.

God knows that we struggle with mercy and forgiveness, but he also knows that holding onto hurt, anger and bitterness can consume us. He invites us to ask his forgiveness for our thoughts, words and actions through the sacrament of reconciliation and to come to him for comfort and healing.

The next time we say “Kyrie, eleison” or “Lord, have mercy” at Mass, may we call to mind the times we have failed to show mercy and forgive—and ask God to forgive and heal us.

Let this be the pattern for all men when they practice mercy: show mercy to others in the same way, with the same generosity, with the same promptness, as you want others to show mercy to you.

~ St. Peter Chrysologus, quoted in “Celebrate July 2015,” Catholic Digest, June / July / August 2015

(*Scripture quotes and references taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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