Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy
In his book interview, The Name of God is Mercy, Pope Francis tells how once, when he was still bishop of Buenos Aires, a priest who spent hours hearing confessions went to him and said that sometimes he has misgivings about whether he is being too generous in forgiving very serious sins. ‘What do you do when you have such thoughts?’, the future Pope asked him. ‘I go to the Chapel and tell Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, “This is all your fault, for you gave me the bad example, forgiving all those who asked for mercy. You even shed your blood for them; at least I haven’t done that yet”’.
The doctor comes for the sick not for the healthy
Throughout his life Jesus was accused of being too friendly with sinners. Yet he never defended himself from this accusation; on the contrary he insisted that the Son of Man came to call sinners to repentance, like the good doctor who comes for the sick and not for the healthy. This was in continuity with the Old Testament, where God’s two defining qualities are his faithfulness and his mercy.
When we are merciful we are blessed, for we are like our Father, who sends his rain and his sun on the good and the bad alike. We can only be merciful if we know that we have received mercy, not because we deserve it but because God is so good.
What this beatitude means is not that God’s mercy is conditional on our being merciful, but that if we are merciful to the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless and the migrant, in the Last Judgement we will receive mercy. We will be welcomed into God’s blessedness for ever, a gift well beyond what we deserve.
Merciful like the Father
Lent is an invitation to slow down and look into our own hearts. Only then will we realise how much mercy we receive and how merciful we can be, first of all with ourselves, and then with others. When we understand that the mercy of God is without end, that there is more rejoicing in heaven for one sinner who changes his ways than for ninety nine who do not need to change, then we discover how beautiful our life becomes when it embraces mercy for those who, like us, are undeserving.
Today’s audiovisual bring you some very real thoughts to dwell on – Click on the link below where ‘Propaganda lays bare the hidden motivations behind the two ways that all of humanity runs from God as illustrated in the parable of the Prodigal Sons in Luke 15′: