February 23

Psalm 99:6-9

“Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called on his name. They cried to the Lord, and he answered them…O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings.” vss. 6, 8

Moses, Aaron, and Samuel were great heroes of Israel. Through them this wandering people, freshly removed from Egypt, had become a nation founded on the Law of God, a country envied by all its neighbors. But even these great leaders, the psalmist says, were humble and regularly cried out to the Lord. And the Lord answered them and reached out with forgiveness whenever they violated the Law. But then the psalmist adds a disturbing caveat, one that has been an issue for people in the centuries that have followed. He says that God was an avenger of their wrongdoings! For too many, these words have leaped from the pages and into their hearts. They lose the connection with forgiveness and are convinced that God is judging and vengeful. In their eyes God is a Being to be feared and avoided. They forget that the psalmist is using these words in connection with Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. Even though they were great leaders, the scriptures clearly tell us that  their wrongdoings were not overlooked. They messed up and faced the consequences, and so do we! No matter who we are, we are not only forgiven through Divine Mercy, but when we screw up, there are repercussions.

Thought for the Day: When have I received consequences for wrongdoing?

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