Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; 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.

Gospel Reading: Luke 6:36-38

Powerful and challenging words to hear, particularly in a world where, far too often, we witness intentional acts of great harm. On this day only last week, as the Muslim community of Christchurch gathered to pray, they were victims to an act of horror which took the lives of 50 men, women and children.

In the seven days since that day, the horror and the revulsion has touched us all both here in NZ and across the world. It would be so easy for us to feel great anger and hatred. Yet, what we have seen instead has been an overwhelming sense of sadness at the wasted lives, of a deep love and a drawing closer of the different sections of our communities. “We are one. They are us.”

Today, one week on, we will show our solidarity. People can choose to fast or to wear a head scarf. Senior students will form part of the circle surrounding the 18th Ave Mosque, symbolically keeping worshippers safe as they pray and, our whole school will gather at the cross for prayers and a 2 min silence.

But consider the words we have just heard from Luke’s Gospel. He asks us to:

Be merciful…

Judge not…

Condemn not…


That can feel totally impossible. Just too big, too much. Yet, we are still challenged to try. We are challenged to try and make the seemingly impossible, possible. We are challenged to focus on what we can do, on what we can change.

God teaches us that if we trust in His love, then all things are possible. Through showing grace, we can show that willingness to try. By treating others – not necessarily as we think they deserve to be treated but – as God would wish them to be treated.

Love and grace do have the power to heal and the power to restore our faith in this world. As it says in Romans “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.”

So, to each of us, as we head into this day and into the next and on into next week;

Be merciful and compassionate if you are wronged in big or little ways.

Do not judge others too quickly or too unfairly.

Do not condemn others too harshly.

Forgive as you would wish to be forgiven.

We cannot always change others, but we can change ourselves.

This reflection was given by M Rogerson – Aquinas College – 22nd March 2019