Monday, 9 March 2020

‘Be merciful … do not judge …’



I am one of the people who have been asked by Christian Aid to contribute to the morning reflections each day in Lent this year. These reflections are being posted and shared on the web and by email each morning, drawing on the lectionary readings each day. My reflection was circulated and used this morning (Monday 9 March 2020):

‘Be merciful … do not judge …’

(Canon) Patrick Comerford

Luke 6: 36-38:

‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged (Luke 6: 36-38).

Reflection:

Many of us have been heart-broken as we took part in or watched the commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of the Holocaust.

In recent years, I have visited Yad Vashem, Auschwitz, Birkenau, Sachsenhausen, and the ghettoes in Berlin, Prague, Krakow, Bratislava, Venice and other cities.

It is difficult at times to reconcile memories of the Holocaust with the words of Christ in this morning’s Gospel reading: ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven’ (Luke 6: 36-37).

But as I took part in these commemorations, I was reminded of the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller, whose cell I visited in Sachsenhausen:

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Prayer:

Lord, when there is no-one left to speak up for me, be merciful to me; when others judge me, do not condemn me; when others are not being hears, give me courage to speak out.

Luke 6: 36-38 (NRSV):

36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

Biographical note:

(Revd Canon Professor) Patrick Comerford is a priest in the Church of Ireland Diocese of Limerick.

Pastor Martin Niemöller’s cell in Sachsenhausen (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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