Daniel 9: 4-10
Luke 6: 36-38


Earlier this month, Pope Francis addressed a few audiences about sadness. He made the distinction that there are two types of sadness. The first is the sadness we have when we experience grief and loss or when we are disappointed in ourselves. The Pope reminded listeners that this sadness is normal, and with faith and hope in the Resurrection, this sadness can even be a source of conversion. However, the second type of sadness he said, was the pleasure of non-pleasure and goes from being a natural emotion to an evil state of mind. Ultimately this sadness leads to pessimism and a self-centredness that is difficult to heal.

We all have a variety of life experiences, and it is interesting to observe the effect they have on people. Some people experience difficult lives with tragic events and are very familiar with the first type of sadness but choose to follow Jesus’ advice from today’s gospel and live lives of compassion and mercy. Despite their problems, their faith in God and in others keeps them joyous and hope filled, truly a gift in life. Then there are those whose hearts appear to have hardened, taking little pleasure in their own lives or the lives of those around them. Sometimes these people have experienced deep hurt which has lead them to lose their faith in God and others but sometimes, there is complete lack of awareness of their own self-centredness. They seem incapable of compassion or in pardoning others. It is often said that when we give to others, we get more than we give. Today’s gospel causes us to pause and consider how we will let our Lenten practices transform us. Will we choose the second type of sadness that Pope Francis defined, or live lives of love and mercy refusing to judge others or condemn them?    

Alison Gore is a parishioner at St Paul of the Cross, Glen Osmond. She works in education and formation.