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Let Mercy Take Over

A health worker attends to a patient in a Manila hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Mark Saludes for

July 15, Friday, 15th Week in Ordinary Time|Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Daily readings: Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8; Gospel: Matthew 12:1-8

We cannot claim to carry out Christ's mission if we do not practice what we preach.

There were a lot of stories that went viral during the pandemic. One of these is the experience of the frontliners. In Mindanao, Philippines, a group of strangers allegedly attacked one of its health workers by throwing bleach at his face. A similar incident happened in Cebu, Philippines. There were reports that some health workers were reportedly evicted from their apartments out of fear that they might spread COVID-19. All of these were done simply because people feared getting infected and had little knowledge about the virus.

This happens when we let fear and ignorance take over our minds and hearts instead of looking at people and events with mercy and compassion. The Pharisees had feeble minds, and they had selfish intentions. When this takes over, we forget to show compassion for others.

This happened to Jesus and his disciples in the Gospel when the Pharisees accused them of "doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath." We are so focused on following the laws in a one-sided manner that we forget that we, too, are also "law-breakers."

So does that mean we let all lawbreakers free because of mercy and compassion? No, they still have to be held accountable for their actions. But it should not end there. We don’t want them to go back to their ways when they get out. We must help them and their families get a second chance to turn their lives around.

Going back to the people who attacked our first responders, if they used common sense and thought about what they had to give up so that others could still get medical care, would they keep doing such horrible things? If the Pharisees had paid more attention to their predicament than to "breaking the law," would they have fed Jesus and his disciples?

When we think about it, let us show mercy for the "sacrifices" made by others. After these attacks went viral, many people and groups, including the church, gathered to help the frontliners. They provided food and temporary shelters for them to rest; some even donated PPEs, alcohol, masks, gloves, and goggles. This is our way of showing mercy for the sacrifices they have made.

"I desire mercy, not sacrifice," says Jesus. All talk and no action means nothing to God. Walking the talk is more important to Jesus.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.