By Bishop Kevin J. Farrell
Publisher of The Texas Catholic
“Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy,” the opening words of the Holy Father’s Bull Misericordiae Vultus, establishing the Jubilee Year of Mercy. ” Mercy [is] the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.”
God knows we need it. As the world is in tumult over unspeakable acts of savagery and our international conversation is of vengeance and punishing the innocent by exclusion, God knows we need mercy.
The Holy Year opened on December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council at which St. Pope John XXIII pledged that the Church would ” … use the medicine of mercy rather than taking up arms of severity …” The Jubilee Year will close with the Feast of Christ the King, November 20, 2016.
We will soon celebrate the One who is “the face of the Father’s Mercy” the Father sending his Son into the world to teach us the meaning of mercy in the Mystery of Salvation. Pope Francis cautions that “where there is no mercy there is no justice,” and that “if you do not know how to forgive, you are not a Christian.”
Mercy is a double blessing, “it blesses him that gives and him that takes” (Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice). Nothing marks us as disciples of Jesus more than Mercy.