He shows his mercy to those who have respect for him,
from parent to child down through the years.
Luke 1:50 (New International Reader’s Version)
If you’ve been following the news, Pope Francis opened the Holy Doors at the Vatican as he proclaimed an Extraordinary Year of Mercy which started at the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 2015; and will end at the Feast of Christ the King in 2016 (November 20th). To explain what the Year of Mercy is will take a whole other post, however the kind folks at Patheos have a great post that will do it nicely; plus they have a link to the actual Misericordiae Vultus, or the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy written by Pope Francis.
Lord knows we need mercy during this time of Advent waiting. We need God to have mercy on us collectively and individually. Our lives-at times beset by sin and strife-can reach the place we almost lose it. We feel bereft of joy and living; and I know myself I sometimes feel like the proverbial “walking dead.” Scripture-including tonight’s text from the Magnificat-remind us of God’s rich mercies. Here Mary testifies of God’s mercy towards Israel throughout the generations; a reminder that even in her eventful present time, God shows His/Her mercy.
However, we ourselves must extend mercy to others as well. That’s right! Part of the Year of Mercy involves Holy Doors from the Vatican down to the local parish to have their doors open. You see, Pope Francis wants to open the Holy Church up as the place of mercy for all. This is a call to all in the Boardinghouse of Faith to do likewise-Catholic or Protestant, liberal or conservative, regardless of race or nationality. And I believe the Pontiff was not just speaking of the physical doors of churches, but also the doors of our hearts. We too must be places where mercy can be found. Who do we need to show mercy to?
- The poor and needy among us, the homeless veteran, the oppressed of our corrupt economic system.
- The alien, the refugee-no matter his/her origin, the “other.”
- The White Male Christian terrorist.
- The victims of gunmen’s (and women’s) violence; and the victims’ loved ones.
- Our children who are bombarded with the world and its fake allure.
- Those who treat us like crap-especially when we’d rather do likewise.
- And others….
Are we willing to open up the “Holy Doors” of our hearts, our “Doors of Mercy” to those in need of mercy? God does it for us all the time; and being made in God’s image, we can do no less.