Lenten Reflection Series: Choosing Compassion and Love

In today’s gospel, we are challenged to stop judging one another. Instead, we are called to be generous with love, mercy, and forgiveness in our relationships with others. We are reminded that the more we choose to give, the more we will receive in return. God taught us this kind of reciprocal love when he chose to show us mercy so that we may be merciful to others.

Forgiveness is also a theme in today’s readings. God’s followers cry out that they have “sinned, been wicked and done evil” and “rebelled and departed” from God’s “commandments and laws.” But God responds without judgment and instead chooses “compassion and forgiveness,” just as his followers knew he would.

At times it seems that judging one another is too easy—almost human nature. But, today I am reminded that it is how I choose to respond to that judgment that defines me and my relationships with others. Psychologist Victor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” So today, knowing that God always chooses compassion, what response will you choose?

Jennifer Labbadia is a Jesuit Volunteer who lives and works in Washington, DC. She graduated from Fairfield University in 2013 with a degree in politics and English literature.