Charles Seagren, ocds: the scandal of mercy

Editor’s note: Charles Seagren is a Formation Instructor in the Santa Clara, CA Secular Community. He is also a Deacon at St. Raymond Catholic Church, Menlo Park. The following talk has been taken from one of his homilies.

Readings – Matthew 11:2-11

It’s the scandal of mercy.
Even John the Baptist is confused.
He sends his disciples to see
if Jesus is the One
or should he look for another.

And Jesus shows them
His works of mercy
but He adds,
Blessed is the one
who takes no offense at Me.

Why would He say that?
All He’s done
is heal and preach and raise the dead.
Why would we take offense at that?

If justice is to get what you deserve
mercy is to get more than that —
and that’s the scandal.
What if you work 12 hours in a vineyard
in the heat of the day
and get a just wage.
But along comes some idler
who works one hour in the cool of the day
and gets the same pay.
How does it feel?

Sometimes mercy can look like injustice.

We have no problem with mercy
for ourselves and people we love –
but for strangers or people we hate
it’s just not fair.

Blessed is the one who takes no offense.

Look at Jesus
and the woman caught in adultery,
or the Samaritan woman with her five husbands,
or Zacchaeus in the sycamore tree.

Was Jesus killed because He was just
or because He was merciful?

SOURCE: Third Sunday of Advent Homily, December 2016.

Charles Seagren,  ocds. All Rights Reserved

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