Some questions stick with me. Over 50 years ago, a university student showed me a card. “If being a Christian were a capital offense, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
On this Divine Mercy Sunday, I continue to reflect on Jesus’ words, “BE merciful just as your Father is merciful!” (Luke 6:36).
Today I wonder whether our concept of mercy is focused on receiving mercy rather than BEING MERCY? I wonder how many sermons went beyond assuring us of the gift of God’s mercy. Certainly, an important theme.
How many sermons stressed the need to be merciful?
Beyond receiving mercy to “mercying”
Jesus tells the story of a man who owed much to his boss. He went to the head of the line asking for the gift of mercy and forgiveness. He received the gift of forgiveness.
Of course, we know Jesus pointed out that later he refused to “pay it forward” when someone asked him for mercy.
- “Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person, reveals the mercy of God. Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy.”
- “This parable contains a profound teaching for all of us. Jesus affirms mercy is not only an action of the Father… (mercy) becomes a criterion for recognizing who his true children are.”
- “Above all, let us listen to the words of Jesus who made mercy an ideal of life and a criterion for the credibility of our faith (Mt 5:7).
Today we are the face of God’s mercy
We, who are the body of Christ, by our actions, become the face of God’s mercy today.
Pope Francis continues
- “Jesus introduces us to the works of mercy in his preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as his disciples.”
- “Let us rediscover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. “
- “And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offenses, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead.”
Mercying as a sign of following St. Vincent and Louise
We all know how special it was for St. Vincent when Jesus unrolled the scroll and said.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to those in captivity” (Is 61:1-2).
This is what the Lord proclaimed, and this is what Vincentians try to live now.
We know that at the final judgment, we will be asked if we have
- helped others to escape the doubt that causes them to fall into despair and which is often a source of loneliness;
- worked to overcome the ignorance in which millions of people live, especially children deprived of the necessary means to free them from the bonds of poverty;
- been close to the lonely and afflicted;
- forgiven those who have offended us and have rejected all forms of anger and hate that lead to violence;
- shown the kind of patience God shows, who is so patient with us; and
- commended our brothers and sisters to the Lord in prayer.
Would there be enough evidence to convict me…
Over the next 14 days … more or less… ask yourself how am I manifesting a specific spiritual or corporal work of mercy?
Click below for an early audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk