One line in the reading from the Prophet Micah always catches my attention when I read it. “You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins.” It reminds me of a passage from the novel Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkevicz. In that novel, two men had competing markets across from one another in the city of Rome. Each of them tried to lure customers into their market where they would be enticed to spend their money on the goods. However, one of them learned that his fellow marketer was a Christian. He reported him to the authorities thinking that he could eliminate his competition. However, once the man was arrested by the Roman soldiers, he was led to the amphitheater where he was wrapped in wet wool and then set aflame. Horrified by his act, his betrayer ran to the seashore with every intention of jumping in to kill himself. At the seashore, he met the Apostle Paul. Paul said to the man:
Our God is a God of mercy, A repeated the Apostle (Paul). AWere you to stand at the sea and cast in pebbles, could you fill its depth with them? I tell you that the mercy of Christ is as the sea, and that the sins and faults of (men) sink in it as pebbles in the abyss; I tell you that it is like the sky which covers mountains, lands, and seas, for it is everywhere and has neither end nor limit... Follow me and listen to what I say. I am he who hated Christ and persecuted His chosen ones. I did not want Him, I did not believe in Him till He manifested Himself and called me. Since then He is, for me, mercy.
This image of the depth of the sea in comparison to the depth of God’s mercy is one of the most helpful for me. Nothing can ever exhaust God’s mercy. No amount of sin can ever fill it just as we could never fill the ocean with pebbles. God is full of compassion, full of mercy, full of love. We can never exhaust the abundance of God’s mercy.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator