The blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10: 46-52)
In this story, Jesus teaches us to approach the Lord in faith for forgiveness and mercy. Bartimaeus was blind, meaning he was physically in need; he was a beggar, meaning he was economically in need; he was unable to go into the temple, meaning he was spiritually in need; he was neglected meaning he was socially in need. Jesus stopped at his call of mercy, gave to him all that he needed and restored all that had lost. In response, Bartimaeus threw away his cloak and followed Jesus. He stands as an example to us all on how to approach Jesus and benefit from his mercy and love.
The woman caught in adultery (John 8)
In this story, Jesus teaches us that what others think or know about our past must not deter us from asking for mercy. It is not what people say about us that matter but what God says. Jesus spoke to the woman in these words: ‘’Woman, has no one condemned you … No Sir, neither do I condemn you… “(Jn. 8:11). Only God’s love and mercy can set us free. If the son of man sets you free then you are free indeed (In 8:26). He bent to write on the ground, reminiscing the moment of creation when He fashioned her from the dust of earth. In raising her up, he was recreating her and restoring her to her lost dignity and original innocence.
The call of Levi the tax collector (Matt 9:9-13)
This story means so very much to Pope Francis that his motto Miserado atque eligendo was derived from the story. Jesus looked intently at Matthew –a look full of mercy and compassion – and forgave all his sins. He went further to choose him against the hesitation of the disciples to become one of the twelve (12). Matthew eventually used his pen, which hitherto was deployed for corruption and extortion, to pen the most orderly account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Like Matthew, we are all beneficiaries of mercy and must in turn show mercy.
The parable of the “Ruthless Servant’’ (Matt 18:22)
In reply to Peter’s question about how many times it is necessary to forgive, Jesus says, “I did not say seven times but seventy seven times seven times.“ It is ironical that the master cancels his huge debt (ten thousand talents) but he meets a fellow servant who owes him a paltry sum of a hundred denarii (few cents) and who in turn begged on his knees for mercy but he refused and threw him in jail. Jesus summons him and says, ‘’Should you not have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’’ And he had him sold to pay his debt. Jesus concludes, ‘’So also my heavenly father will do to every one of you if you do not forgive your brother from your heart (18:35).’’
• Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos.