Friday, January 1, 2016

A Year of Mercy

Practicing Love During Times of Hate

After such a long season of single-issue voting, inhospitable behavior toward immigrants, and words of hate for those who are different, Pope Francis has declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy. May we take this time to re-acquaint ourselves with the charitable works of mercy.  

We have seen too much hatred and even support of violence coming from people who in more settled times may have exhibited more decency toward others. Pope Francis admonished early on that we should not be obsessed with the issues of abortion and homosexuality – there is so much good news to tell that no one has been hearing because of this unhealthy obsession.

As a practicing Catholic, I see too many good things regarding social justice and the works of mercy that we are all called to practice. That is why I was so glad to see Pope Francis call his flock to a Jubilee Year of Mercy which began during Advent on December 8, and will continue until November 20, 2016. 

When Pope Francis issued the announcement of the Year of Mercy, he stated that he wanted to call us back to the work of Vatican II. The people at that Ecumenical Council, he said "strongly perceived, as a true breath of the Holy Spirit, a need to talk about God to men and women of their time in a more accessible way. The walls which for too long had made the Church a fortress were torn down and the time had come to proclaim the Gospel in a new way." Indeed, I was moved to tears to see our diocese as well as our local parish issuing a renewed call to practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. 

Taking heed to these traditional works of mercy provides us a more holistic view of practicing our faith than we typically have been seeing of late. May we engage more in acts of love and less in hateful diatribe in the year ahead.


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