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What does the Year of Mercy mean to Me

posted Apr 22, 2016, 8:58 AM by Risen Christ   [ updated Apr 22, 2016, 9:04 AM ]
My Dad had a formidable task of raising his nine children in the 1960s. Although he was a Catholic, his faith was at most lacklustre. He had approached the Society of St Vincent De Paul ministry in his parish to seek material assistance. They had provided the assistance and he was grateful for it. Symbolically speaking, he had asked Jesus for help and Jesus stretched out his hands and held my Dad’s hands firmly and they walked together through all the difficulties that my Dad endured.

I came to realise that God is prepared to love us even if we do not deserve his mercy. That being so, what then is this mercy that does not differentiate one person from another and that does not pass judgement on the recipient? It has to be something so wonderful and so loving that it can be actually a mystery to all of us.

The mercy of God is depicted many times in the bible from the Old Testament to the New Testament. They include liberation of the people of Israel from the Egyptian rule, the story of the prodigal son and the forgiveness that Jesus showed on the immoral woman. The Word of God also emphasises more than once that God Almighty is rich in mercy and His mercy has no limits.

We are then told, rightly so, to be merciful as our Heavenly Father is merciful. Here lies the more difficult part. The pre-condition of mercy is to forgive the person who has hurt me. I may have hurt others or be a reckless sinner but those thoughts do not come to my mind but only what so-and-so has done to me. Thus Pope Francis says we have to start a journey of spiritual conversion. To achieve this aim, he has started this Jubilee of Mercy.

In these modern days, relationships have become very fragile due to various reasons. However, the most important contributing factor is lack of forgiveness and hearts that become as cold as ice. No mercy flows from such hearts and the result is tears and bitterness.

Let this Year of Mercy be the game changer for me. Let God come to me and remove the pain and bitterness in my heart so that I can forgive those who have hurt me since I myself am no better before the Judgement Seat of God. Once I am on this journey, Jesus promised me that he will walk with me and teach and guide me. I am worth more than a sparrow, says God.

~ Gabriel Sebastian